The command to rejoice always, to grumble about nothing, and to be happy is given in the Bible in various ways at least a dozen times. Most people don’t make much of an effort to obey that command, they just act how they feel and their feelings are a result of their circumstances. When events go wrong, plans are frustrated, and crisis happens, they feel disappointed, angry, and frustrated and they then grumble and complain, becoming irritable, and grumpy.
It isn’t natural or easy to exercise self-control over our words, our actions and our self-talk when things happen that are not what we want, but the fact is, we can if we work at it, and train ourselves to rejoice always. This past week the bearing on my boat trailer burned up right in the middle of Portland as I was headed off on a fishing trip that I had been planning for a year. After we got the boat and trailer back to my house the four of us set off again for our fishing trip, and we arrived in camp at about 3:00 am. After I got my big 10×20 tent set up a big wind storm came up and basically destroyed my tent, ripping it apart, so I slept in my pickup with the seat reclined. The wind blew hard all week and the fishing was not even close to being as good as last year. I got home this evening and Patty told me there must be a pipe leaking in the attic because water was dripping from the ceiling. I crawled around in the attic trying to find the source of the leak and as a result of all the dust and cobwebs I haven’t been able to stop coughing for the last hour.
In order to successfully obey God’s command to rejoice always I have rehearsed what my self-talk will be like during these kinds of times so that I am positive, cheerful, always trusting in the Lord, always believing that He causes all things to happen in such a way as to grow my character to be like Him, and always asking Him for strength to act right and to glorify Him. After the crises I replay the event in my head several times thinking of ways I could have been more positive.
The morning that we got to our camp I walked down to the boat ramp at about 7:00 am to check things out and there was a big, aluminum boat that looked very expensive sunk right next to the dock. Apparently the big windstorm had caused waves so big that they had swamped this boat and sunk it tied to the dock. While I stood there looking at this major crisis the owner of the boat walked up and he was not a happy camper. I attempted some conversation to help cheer him up a bit, but I think I was just irritating him so I walked back to camp.
I had a fantastic time this past week camping and fishing with friends because I chose to despite more than the average amount of problems, challenges, and things to be fixed.