Our local Christian radio station plays an annoying spot every morning. It’s some happy woman saying “This is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!” It’s then followed by a chorus of happy women singing the annoying happy chorus this verse was put to.
It’s ridiculously happy. It makes me want to hurt people.
I have contended that the modern manifestation of Christianity is too happy. I maintain that contention.
I wonder what people do when they read James, “Let your laughter be turned into mourning.” Or Jesus, “Blessed are those who mourn.” Or Paul, “Weep with them who weep.”
Negative emotions play a part in Christianity, they really do. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having “negative” emotions–sadness, loneliness, mourning, depression, etc.
It’s only our hyper-happy Americanized notion (a supposed God-given right to pursue happiness) of Christianity that has a problem with these emotions. Being depressed is a sign of mental disorder in our country.
If Jesus, the man of sorrow acquainted with grief, showed up in an American church, He’d be referred to counseling right quick. “He’s always talking about death.”
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” is a verse in your Bible and it’s there for a reason. I’d like to point out its context.
Psalm 118 is a song of deliverance. Psalm 118 is admittedly happy. But allow me to point out why Psalm 118 is so happy based on what Psalm 118 says.
118:5–I called on the Lord out of my distress
118:7–my enemies are going to get it!
118:10–I will destroy all the nations lined up against me
118:11–I will destroy my enemies who surround me
118:12–my bee-like enemies will be destroyed
118:13–they just about did me in, but I will prevail
118:18–all this pain is the Lord’s sore chastening, but I’m not dead yet
118:24–this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it
The Psalmist is not saying that he is rejoicing every day. The Psalmist is particularly rejoicing this day because the Lord’s chastening, brought about by stinging enemies surrounding him, is now over.
He rejoices because the misery he previously was going through has ended.
Misery. Enemies. Chastening.
Mercy. Salvation. Deliverance.
He’s happy this day because victory has finally come.
To use this as a theme to rub in the faces of those who are struggling is not the intent. The Psalms are filled with plenty of pain-filled songs too. We just like the happy ones.
Don’t be afraid of sadness, mourning, pain, heaviness, sorrow, or grief. They have much to teach us. Don’t be so quick to throw it off for happy. The Lord can do more with people who are emotionally honest.
Feel some pain. Feel the weight of sin. True joy comes from slugging through misery.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.