“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Romans 5:2-4)
Thankfulness is so important. It protects against bitterness. But in Romans 5 we are exhorted to go a step beyond and rejoice. To rejoice is to make a decision to be happy.
We normally think of happiness and unhappiness as spontaneous emotions that coincide with good and bad circumstances. When things are to our liking, we feel happy; when things are not, we feel unhappy. The believer’s call to rejoice is irrespective of circumstance. We are to rejoice always, despite our situation: good or bad.
Rejoicing is a choice which transcends our feelings. It is a decision to be happy because we know God has a higher purpose to work out in times of tribulation. Tribulation is a prime opportunity to learn patience. Who doesn’t want more patience? We don’t grow in patience when everything is going just the way we like it. Patience is waiting to develop in us when things are tough, when life stinks. But for the believer, patience is not just a matter of grinning and bearing it; it is an extended opportunity to interface with God. All manner of precious godly fruit grows in the soil of patience. And when God works all these things together for good in our life, we have confidence that through Him we can face anything the future might hold.
Underneath the often hard surface of life, God has a deep well of goodness for us to tap into. Be happy for every opportunity to gain more of that goodness.