Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice Philippians 4:4
While Paul was writing from a Roman prison with guards chained to him on either side, my life’s problems pale in comparison. Yet Paul’s kind of rejoicing is a hard lesson for me to learn. Yes, things are not all that bad. We have moved into our comfortable small home in Florida but those we love especially the grandchildren we kissed good-bye just last week seem like a universe away. As we unpack and make phone calls to change our address with a thousand people we feel lost, lonely and joy, real load lifting and soul refreshing joy is something we long for.
But Jesus told us He was leaving us His joy – not a joy to be found anywhere on planet earth.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11
His joy kept Jesus through the wavering loyalties, betrayals and treacheries that pressed Him towards a harsh Roman cross. His joy caused Him to wash dirty feet and skip lunch in the sweltering heat by a well to meet a woman who was thirsty for a water only He could give. The joy of Jesus Christ rises up and says, “Enough!” to waves and wind. His joy sees the way along shadowy valley paths and lights a candle of hope waiting for us at the end of the day. Maybe that is why Paul tells us, “Rejoice!” then in face of the improbable backdrop of His life and our’s He tells us again, “Rejoice!” The world may not get it. Our weary bodies may not feel like it and The devil can not understand it. But we who are God’s children are given the priceless gift of His joy. We only have to remember and believe His joy is especially deep and true when it comes in a morning light that wipes away the tears of our darkest night!