This is one of the most unusual commands in the Bible. How can you be joyful when you are in the midst of a trial, problem, trouble or suffering? Yet that is what the scripture says. This is not the only scripture on this subject, for example: ” 4 Rejoice in the Lords always, 6 Be anxious for nothing,” A “ 16 Rejoice always; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” B and ” 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls,[the food supply has failed] 18 yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” C
None of these scriptures say rejoice or be thankful only when times are good. The last one even lists a time in an agricultural economy when the food supply had failed but Habakkuk said even then I will celebrate and rejoice in the Lord! How can this be?
It is simply that Jesus set the example for us on the cross when he died for the sins of all people. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” ; also David said “fret not” 3 times. D Peter wrote his letter to the Christians during fiery persecution throughout the Roman empire and the “purpose” was “unjust suffering”. Four times “you” is used to indicate you and I are called to suffer since Jesus left us an example of suffering without complaining but instead witnessed on the cross and forgave His persecutors. E
When we suffer trusting Jesus we will be joyful and thankful, have the peace of God F and “the testing of your faith produces endurance”. G