Whatever My Lot

Embracing the Day God Has Made

Scripture teaches us to cultivate joy in the midst of sorrow through the daily habit of looking for God’s good gifts (Ecclesiastes 2:24–26). Each day, our heavenly Father gives comfort for today’s sorrows and blessings for today’s joys. Happiness in him comes one day at a time.

 

Nine years ago this month, my dad went home to be with the Lord. One of my sweetest memories of him is how he loved to sing hymns. Whether he was fixing stuff around the house or leading our church’s congregational singing on Sunday mornings, I remember my dad’s strong baritone lifted in praise. Among his all-time favorite hymns was Horatio Spafford’s “It Is Well.” Even now, I can picture him singing, with great gusto,

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

As a child, the words of this hymn held little meaning for me. I knew nothing yet of the billowing sorrows of life in a fallen world. But now, I think I understand why “It Is Well” was beloved by my dad. I too have felt pain and sadness; I too have experienced suffering and loss. But I have also tasted joy in the midst of grief. I have discovered, as my dad must have known, that it is possible to feel sad and happy at the same time; or as the apostle Paul put it, to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

How can we experience these contrary emotions at the same time? How can we learn to be “always rejoicing” in the midst of sorrow? We need the power of the Holy Spirit, to be sure. But Scripture teaches us to cultivate joy in the midst of sorrow through the daily habit of looking for God’s good gifts (Ecclesiastes 2:24–26). Each day, our heavenly Father gives comfort for today’s sorrows and blessings for today’s joys. Happiness in him comes one day at a time.

1. Don’t wish for yesterday.

Wishing for “the good ol’ days” or longing for “the way things used to be” will smother God’s gifts of joy for today. Here’s the thing about nostalgia: it’s often a cover for discontent, for dissatisfaction with God’s good gifts in the present. If we live in the past, wishing things were like that again, longing for some blessing we no longer have, we miss out on the joy and delight God has for us today. That’s why Solomon warns us, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Read More