Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
When I was in high school, I was supposed to attend my first big concert. It was my favorite band in the whole world, and they would be appearing about an hour or so from my house. I got together some classmates who also wanted to go to the concert, and we recruited an older kid because someone had to drive. Our plans were set, and I remember spending weeks anticipating the event. I would listen to their CD over and over again just imagining what it finally would be like to see my favorite band perform before my very eyes. We did not have backstage passes or even terribly good seats, but I still had such excitement leading up to that concert. There was nowhere else I wanted to be on that night. Just the hope of being there caused me to rejoice.
To rejoice in something means to find joy or delight in it. We can think of that in small terms such as enjoying our favorite candy or dessert. A good cheesecake or tiramisu certainly will bring me joy and delight, but I would not say that I necessarily rejoice in them. Rejoicing seems to me like an emotion we feel in a much greater way. The scriptures tell us to rejoice in the Lord, and that certainly is not the same feeling we have when we taste our favorite dessert. To rejoice in God seems more like what I felt leading up to that concert, the anticipation of just being in the same building as that band. I spent so many hours and days looking forward to being in their presence and being able to cherish those moments. A large part of my mental capacity was consumed by that show for a short time before it even arrived. That is how we should feel about the Lord, him being at the forefront of our minds always.
Loving God and serving God and bowing to his will should not be a cause for us to hang our heads and suffer through the drudgery. We should be rejoicing in the Lord, which means that we light up at the thought of fellowshipping with him and working with him and existing for him. I can be the first to admit that God has assigned me to some work which did not cause me to rejoice, but my attitude should have been different. There is a certain clarity of vision that we need so that we can rejoice in the Lord always because He will call us to some very difficult times. As we grow in him, we should grow in our joy so that we can have the right attitude and rejoice in him regardless of our circumstances, not sometimes but always. Father, thank You for how awesome and wonderful You are, that we have no reason to do anything but rejoice in You at all times.