This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).
June 6th always brings to memory the Allied invasion upon the shores of Normandy in 1944. But there were many D-Days in WWII. It was a common designation for a major planned attack— and there were many such attacks.
But the attack on that French coast was of special importance, and we should not diminish its value. It did not end the war, but it signaled the beginning of the end.
Sadly, the day also marked the end of many human lives.
A song that became popular after WWI carried the title, “Happy Days are Here Again.” But those same people walked on to the Great Depression and another World War. It makes the phrase “happy days” seem a bit empty in their case.
Sometimes, it may also seem that way to us when we consider the words, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
When do these words apply? At graduations? At weddings? On days of promotions and awards? Maybe at the birth of a child. Perhaps returning from deployment.
Probably so. The Lord God has made that day for us. He led us to that day. We thank him for such a day.
But has he not also made the day when everything went wrong for us? The day on which we failed to get what we had desperately hope for? The day our loved one died? Did not the Lord God make the worst day of our life? Will he not make the day of our death?
“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Do those bad and sad days make a mockery of the invitation to “be glad in it.”?
Or does the reminder that the Lord has made such days make enduring them possible?
We think of the Soldier who looked down at Utah Beach as the sun was setting on that June day. What might he have thought about that day? What might he have felt?
He certainly would have been thankful that he survived, grateful that the landing was a success. But he knew the cost of the success. Medics and corpsmen were still hard at work. Bodies were still floating on the water. The war was not over. Tomorrow would bring more fighting.
Could he agree with the psalmist, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Would he join in with those words? Only if he trusted in the Lord with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind.
One need not have been in a bloody battle to have emotions twisted and torn at times. One need not have endured the worst day to become irritated when someone else says “Cheer up!”
The last thing we need when in misery is for someone else to tell us that things aren’t that bad. “Easy to say!” we think, “But you don’t know what you are talking about!” But the One talking to us in this psalm does know. This is the Lord! We cannot imagine the pain and misery he has gone through. Yet, he knows exactly what we are going through.
And he has promised to carry us through.
The Apostle Paul makes the bold statement: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings…” (Romans 5:3)
The only way that could be is if we knew for certain that everything will turn out well in the end—our D-Days will lead to total victory. They will, of course, because of the victory won on Golgotha. Good Friday was the very greatest D-Day of all time.
And we know how that ended. Jesus tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We pray: Lord Jesus, we know you have overcome the world. We know that you have given us the victory. Be with us in our days of struggles. Keep us from despair. Remind us that you are the Commander of each day that you lead us into. Lead us, we pray, through the worst of them—just as you promised. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military.