And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. —Acts 5:41, KJV
Do you feel that you let God down sometimes? Haven't we all?
He is not asking us to be excited about the bad things that may have happened in our lives or in the world around us, but He is trying to get our minds on something useful and positive because—one day—we will be glad we did.
The rejoicing that Peter experienced after being rebuked and flogged by the ruling council of Jerusalem showed how much he had changed. He was cowardly after Jesus was arrested, but now he was as bold as a lion. God wants to do this for all of us. He lets us have a second chance after we have blown it. This alone is cause for rejoicing.
But there is one further important clarification: we are told to rejoice in the Lord. We do not rejoice in ourselves or in things. We rejoice in the Lord Jesus. This we can always do because there is no fault in Him, no disappointment. We rejoice in His person—that He is totally God and totally man. No matter what our circumstances we can always—with integrity—rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The same Lord we rejoice in, however, is not only in heaven. He is with us wherever we are. Paul spoke of Jesus being right there with him (2 Tim. 4:17). How could this be if He is in heaven? Is it because He miraculously remains there and yet comes to us where we are? Certainly. But it is also because He lifts us up to where He is! "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5) That is therefore perpetual cause for rejoicing.
God will come again, one way or another, to let us have another chance—and (perhaps) save face! Rejoice in His faithfulness. Rejoice in the way He covers for us and does not expose the skeletons in our closets. God is so kind and gracious. Whatever you are going through, this too will work together for good (Rom. 8:28). So rejoice!
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).