One of my very favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. It’s a beautiful verse, yet I think we sometimes read verses like these and don’t look deeply enough into what it’s truly saying. We equate the idea of rejoicing always with “never being sad.”

As a result, we create an expectation in the body of Christ that you’re not allowed to feel pain, that “rejoice” cancels out sadness. A completely unreasonable expectation.

This verse is reminding us to rejoice IN our suffering. To keep praising and being thankful in everything, including our sadness. We are called to keep rejoicing in the good moments and the bad ones because God is still good in all of them.

Rejoicing is extremely important- it helps bring healing and preserves a posture of gratitude. The more you rejoice, the more light shines in your dark situation. This glorifies God in everything and therefore brings life to every circumstance.

But it doesn’t demand that you not be human. It doesn’t mean your pain isn’t acceptable. One feeling isn’t supposed to entirely cancel out the other. Especially if you find yourself in the process of healing from a situation that has brought you pain.

In the beginning, God didn’t create two robots in the garden. God created man and woman- in his own image. He created us. He created feelings. If we are made in his own image, doesn’t God have an abundance of feelings? The Old testament is filled with story after story illustrating God’s emotions towards his people. In fact, even in the midst of his passionate love for us, we see Him expressing sadness time and time again as his children overlooked his love.

Romans 12:12 tells us to be, “joyful in hope, patient in affliction.” It doesn’t say “ignore the affliction”, or “be hard on yourself in the affliction”. Paul understood that healing from affliction is a process that requires patience and dependence on the greatest Healer. He understood that affliction is inevitable. He understood the beautiful truth that only with Christ is it possible for sadness and rejoicing to coexist and intentionally work together.

Romans 5:3 tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, and the rest of the verse explains why: “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

You’re not letting God down when you find yourself experiencing sadness. That moment when you acknowledge your feelings and surrender your heart to the comfort of the Father may be the first time you’ve given him the opportunity to fully embrace your heart and pour out a wave of healing on the pain you’ve been denying.

The more pain I’ve experienced in life, the more I’ve realized that each moment I shut off the pain was a missed opportunity to see God’s goodness. His presence in the hurting, his quickness to send an outpouring of love from all directions, the beautifully creative ways he showed me his heart’s response to my pain, all were things that marked me forever. Without allowing him to step into the places I had no idea how to mend, I would have never known him the way I do today. And I must say, I am so thankful I don’t see him through the same lens I used to.

So if you’re hurt, then hurt. If you’ve got pain, don’t ignore it. Yet also rejoice. Rejoice in the weakness that gives our Father a wide open space to be strong on our behalf.

Embedded within the pain, we can rejoice in knowing we don’t have to carry the weight alone.

We rejoice in our healing, knowing that the love of Jesus will shine the most brightly in the darkness.


God is the only One who always means what He says.

In Acts 27, Paul traveled on a boat along with a centurion and several prisoners, when the weather suddenly took a threatening turn. Upon noticing the storm, Paul urged the centurion to turn the boat around and warned that if they continued, it would result in a disaster that could cost their lives. Paul’s warning was ignored, and they found themselves in a raging storm. The Word says that “neither sun nor stars appeared for many days” (Acts 27:10). They began to throw cargo off the ship and all hope of survival was lost. When least expected, Paul stood up and offered something they didn’t have before:


Paul told everyone they would survive. An angel of God had come to Paul and said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).

How did Paul respond to the angel’s message? By saying, “I believe God because he said it.” Period.

Think about this for a moment. Paul and several other men were caught in a storm so intense that they were literally on the verge of death. The only natural response in this situation is complete panic. Yet Paul immediately believed what was told to him, his only reason being that God said it. 

Initially, it was hard to wrap my head around it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve suffered greatly from broken promises. How many times have people you trusted spoken things to you, made promises you held on to, only to rip them away like your heart is far less than the treasure it was created to be? And as a result, you too may not have see the sun nor stars for many days.

I believe that our ability to hold on to the word of God as a promise can be heavily tainted by all the times our trust has been violated by others. As humans, we naturally guard the areas of our heart that have experienced pain. The greater wound, the greater the protection. We experience an empty promise, maybe a few, and forget that there is One is who will NEVER take away his plan for us.

When something comes out of the mouth of God and into our life, it is our responsibility to make room for his words to grow roots in our spirit by believing and walking in obedience. He doesn’t take back what he said, he doesn’t change his mind. Notice that many verses in the bible end with “The Lord has spoken.” This may seem like a minor detail, but it is a powerful statement. I think so many verses end this way because it’s equivalent to placing a seal. Similar to when the Kings wrote a decree and would complete it with a seal so no one could change it. “The Lord has spoken” means it will come to pass.

What I think is the best part, is that he LOVES us too much to make an empty promise.

Everything he speaks to us- personally, through his Word, through others, comes out of his immeasurable love that no human on will ever match. When we experience heartbreak or disappointment from an empty promise, he is sad too. He feels disappointment with us.

Remember… he knows what all of these things feel like. Jesus knew the deceit of a broken promise when Judas, his disciple sworn to loyalty, turned him over to a humiliating death with kiss. God knows what it was like to be abandoned by the Israelite people whom he deeply loved in old testament times again, and again, and again. God doesn’t give empty promises- he has been in our position far more times than we have!

Let’s not limit the desire of our Father to bring us what he has promised. He made a huge sacrifice so that you could always hold on to his promises- no matter how wounded you are, how much you’ve been let down, or how often you see others receiving their promises while you wait.

Ask your Father if there is anything you haven’t realized that could be standing in the way of you and your promise. Ask him if there are any areas in which he has been trying to grow you, and you might be pushing back.

Perhaps none of these things are the case for you. Perhaps he wants you to trust, wait, and continue to walk in confidence.

Wherever you may find yourself, let his words seep into your spirit and make residence in the most callused areas of your heart.

God says he created you and what he creates is perfect. Your flaws don’t change that. He means it.

He says that when you’re weak, He’s ready to be strong

When others walk away because you’re too much work or responsibility, he says he’s ready to fight for you

He says that when you forget about Him, he pursues you

He says that when you fail and others give up on you, he will NEVER give up on you

He says that it would it would break his heart to lose you

He says you are enough, you are worth it, and he will keep holding on.

He means Every. Single. Word. 

When the Lord speaks into your life don’t let your mistakes or someone else’s steal what God is excitedly desiring to give you. Hold on to what he speaks to you like it’s the most valuable and priceless treasure you will ever receive, because it is.

To God, your heart is not a joke.