The Apostle Paul told us in Philippians chapter 4 verse 4, to "Rejoice in the Lord always". He even said it twice, "Again, I say rejoice!" Rejoicing had become something of great value to Paul. I believe he had a depth of understanding that we sometimes struggle to grasp. I have asked myself as of late, why I haven't cried more over the disaster in Japan. Then, I turn around and read a blog post from a family that just lost a young 13 year old boy in an accident and my heart is broken in intercession. As for Paul, he was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, viper bitten and let's not forget that infamous "thorn in the flesh" he asked to be delivered of but never was. This is the same man who is telling us to "rejoice" always. Rejoicing can be nothing more that a heart attitude developed out of relationship and a firm trust that the object of that relationship, Jesus Christ, is true to His Word. If he said it, we can believe it. We rejoice because we believe that He has, in fact, ushered in the way of eternal life for us and that after we leave this fleshly tent of a body behind, we will put on a new, spiritual body and live forever where there are no "earthquakes" or "wars and rumors of wars". There will be nothing but perfection; Eternal existence without the presence of sin or it's consequences. Therefore, we can be confident of the Holy Spirit's desire and ability to lead our spirits as he will. We can give ourselves permission to abide in a place of spiritual reality and accept that we can rejoice and live life to the fullest and at the same time intercede and minister as He leads. We are not cold and unfeeling because we do not respond to every tragedy with the fervency we believe it deserves. We do not rejoice in the sufferings of others, but we do rejoice in the knowledge that this life is not the end. It is only the beginning to prepare us for the most amazing adventure we are unable comprehend with our finite minds, but only glimpse during those times of incredible connection when "the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are (in fact) the children of God." Romans 8:16. We are children eternally, bought with the precious Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. In that is the rejoicing. So let us REJOICE: Celebrate, joy, triumph, delight, be overjoyed, jump for joy, exult, make merry, revel, for this is not the end but only the beginning. Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."
Lord, we commit our will and our way to you in the power and strength only you can give. Amen!