Always rejoice

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Lewis connections and some thoughts follow:

"Scripture: ‘Though He slay me, yet will I have hope in Him’ (Job: 13,15)


"A ship is moving through the water…and no matter how deep the water is, no matter how strong the waves, no matter how intense the storm, everything is all right as long as water has not entered the ship. A sailor’s task is not to get the ship out of the sea, but to keep the water from flooding it. Likewise, the task of a Christian’s life consists not in avoiding problems, trials and temptations, but in keeping all these things from disturbing his inner peace and flooding his soul with an irresistible wave, not leaving any room for anything else.

"If we give our hearts free access to endless small and big worries which constantly besiege all of us, they will soon lead to discontent, irritability and bitterness, and we will be a burden to ourselves and others. Our gloomy mood will throw a shadow on everything around us, and instead of tenderness and love, only coldness will emanate from us.

"Let us learn not to give in to our problems and difficulties, and let us not exaggerate their significance. Then our inner peace will not be disturbed and among all these storms we will “always rejoice”.

"There is nothing more pleasant and comforting than seeing a person who is always calm, peaceful and joyful even among many and difficult concerns. Such an example shines brightly in the midst of life’s gloom. It is more effective than any sermon. It can hearten and support someone who is despondent and give him strength to continue on his difficult journey.

" ‘We are beaten, but not killed; we are afflicted, yet always joyful’ (2 Cor. 6: 9,10)"

Two excerpts from Lewis’s letters on the above topic:

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: Magdalene College, Cambridge. 4 May 62:

"Dear Mary Willis Thank you all for your kind prayers. You have mine daily. Yes–it is sometimes hard to obey St. Paul’s ‘Rejoice.’ We must try to take life moment by moment. The actual present is usually pretty tolerable, I think, if only we refrain from adding to its burden that of the past and the future. How right Our Lord is about ‘sufficient to the day’.

TO KEITH MANSHIP: The Kilns, Headington Quarry, Oxford 13 Sept 62:

"Your question what to do is already answered. Go on (as you apparently are going on) doing all your duties. And, in all lawful ways, go on enjoying all that can be enjoyed–your friends, your music, your books. Remember we are told to ‘rejoice’. Sometimes when you are wondering what God wants you to do, He really wants to give you something.
As to your spiritual state, try my plan. I pray ‘Lord, show me just so much (neither more nor less) about myself as I need for doing thy will now.’

I think there are people who are joyful by nature, and are pleasant to be with, even though they don’t believe in God. My son-in-law is such a person. And he is a very good man. And then there are people, like myself, who are not joyful by nature, although I have a very firm belief in God and Christ. For me, it would take a great effort to “always rejoice”, but one must keep it mind that this should be our goal as Christians.


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)