I just caught up from last Sunday and listened to “A Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Anxiety” (Phil. 4:1-9). Alyssa warned me it would be a doozy. And it was, for I am a very anxious (sinful) woman. I may write more about it later. For now, here is part of what was covered:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice.”
Pastor Bill Clem of Mars Hill has a wife, Jeanie, who is dying of cancer. She is at home now after many treatments and may not make it to Christmas. We will see. In an email to the other pastors at our church, Bill expressed the reasons why, even now, he has reasons to rejoice.
- His wife loves Jesus.
- His wife’s suffering, one way or another, will come to an end.
- That on the other side of the grave Jesus is waiting for his wife and that he and his kids will, one day, meet her there.
- That in their time in the hospital they were able to talk to nurses, fellow patients, and doctors about Jesus.
- That as people brought meals and served them their non-Christian neighbors started asking “How did you get such a great support network.” Their answer was “We’re part of a Christian church. And God’s people take care of each other.”
- That God has given him the ability to care for his wife to a depth and degree that he had never experienced.
I oftentimes think “I can’t rejoice. This or that is in my way. I feel [fill in the blank]. [Circumstance A or B or C] is bound to happen.” That’s a load of bullshit. I say this to myself.
I also say: I guess the “always” in “Rejoice in the Lord always” really does, in fact, mean ALWAYS.
This means in life, in death, in the potentials of life or death or doom, or risk, or failure. And, for those of us who get high off of misery (or the possibility of it), even maybe in happiness.
At the risk of sounding evangelically cheesy, what reasons do you have to rejoice?