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Rejoice in the Lord Always
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The earth stood still. My knees buckled as I fell to the floor. I was doing my best to keep my voice calm. As I replaced the receiver I began to shake Tears flowed until I had no more to weep. The phone call was to tell my precious first born son had just been diagnosed with cancer. Although 38 and a father of three, he was, and always would be my son whom I loved. In that moment some words from scripture took root in my head,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Surely God must be joking to imagine I could rejoice in this situation?
Maybe it was the adrenalin rush that caused me to find the strength to race from the house to a remote hill that towered over the village where we lived. Looking out over the beautiful vista I cried out to God in anguish, “Why Lord, why? As my cries died down I fell to my knees as the tears began to flow again and my strength was gone. In that moment God spoke audibly. “I know the anguish in your heart. I watched my own son go through torturous undeserved suffering on behalf of you and all people - I am weeping with you.”
An unexpected peace fell upon me. Rejoicing was still far from me, yet an inner joy I can’t explain entered my soul. Maybe it was His presence with me and the knowledge that my Abba Father understood fully what I was feeling. He was weeping with me just as Jesus wept with Mary and Martha even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead!
Sometimes situations arise that knock us off course. Therefore, when given this challenging title I decided I could not use biblical verses as platitudes, but neither could I deny that those verses we sometimes find difficult to obey are there for our good and can give us sound instruction on how to overcome our fear and despair.
Through the ever changing seasons on life’s journey God has shown me that when confronted with seemingly impossible situations that overwhelm, He promises to renew my strength if I wait on Him. (Isaiah 40:31). However dire our circumstances seem to be, God promises that when we wait on Him we will begin to rise on wings like eagles. Our circumstances may not change but our perspective will. Floating on the air currents of His immense love we shall view our problems from His perspective, and as we raise our gaze to look ahead we shall glimpse the beautiful golden gates of Heaven where God promises that “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21).
Prayer: Lord Jesus You warned that on earth we shall experience tribulation. In difficult times help us to wait on You, to place all our trust in Your promises so that regardless of our circumstances we will find the fullness of joy that only You can give, and rejoice always simply because You are worthy of our praise. I thank You that in the end you brought my dear son through to be declared cancer free.
‘You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11) Amen