(1) The Bible teaches that we are to always be joyful:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” ~ Philippians 4:4
~ Ever met a person who is always negative or down in the dumps? I am not talking about someone who has a depression that is a clinical issue. I am talking people we meet in daily life who have many a good thing going for them and yet still are always perpetual Puddleglums.
Anyway how can Christians always be joyful? Christians can always be joyful because at any given moment, they have more reasons to be joyful than not. The reasons for always outnumber the reasons against.
(2) Yet the Bible also teaches that we are to be sorrowful at times. Huh?
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” ~ Romans 12:15
~~~> “… mourn with those who mourn.”
Yet this sort of mournfulness is not the same thing as that of the aforementioned Puddleglum. This is a different sort of a thing that much of the negativity and pessimism that can be found making the rounds in our everyday air. I am reminded of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who famously penned some work on Pessimism. Schopenhauer had a very negative outlook on life. If ever he found that he did not have anything to worry about at a given moment, then he would worry about the fact that he did not have anything to worry about.
No this is not the same thing as the mourning of Romans 12:15. There are ways in which you can be mournful and yet still not have a negative outlook on life. You can still move forwards in spite of sorrow-laded hardships. An interesting verse from the book of Proverbs to consider is:
“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” ~ Proverbs 14:13
~ I have had good days with all sorts of joking around, hanging our with friends, doing this and doing that, and yet at the end of the day when I introspected, I found that underneath it all I was still sad. Why? While I haven’t always known why, I think we can go right back to the above Proverb and see that sadness and gladness are possible together. And if that is so then you could have situations where you “mourn with those who mourn” and yet still have joy deep down within.
(3) Is this so? That we can be both sad and glad? Yes and in fact the Bible teaches that it is possible to be sad and yet still to have a gladness slipped in underneath.
“… sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” ~2 Corinthians 6:10
~~~> ” … sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”
Yes while this is so, I think the default state is Philippians 4:4. So we are to always be rejoicing. And when rough times come, we can do both.