Rejoice? You’re kidding me! And you obviously don’t know what’s going on in my life!

Rejoice? You’re kidding me! And you obviously don’t know what’s going on in my life!

A Story by Precious Prodigal
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April 23, 2014: Rejoice? You’re kidding me! And you obviously don’t know what’s going on in my life! Please SHARE this new Precious Prodigal Post: http://bit.ly/1ifGbKr

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Phil 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."

My kids sometimes remind me of things I used to say when they were young. Some of them are probably familiar to you. “Don’t make me come in there.” “I don’t care who started it.” And one of the best, “Do you want a spanking?” I mean, really? Did I expect them to say yes?

I remembered another one when I read this portion of Scripture this morning. “I shouldn’t have to say it twice.” What I meant, of course, is that I wanted them to do what I said the first time. However, it was usually pretty important if I said it twice, and they could take it to the bank that it wasn’t a request…it was a directive.

That’s what I thought as I read Paul’s words to the Philippian Christians. He told them to rejoice. Then, in case they missed it the first time, he repeated it. The circumstances of those early believers were tough. They suffered persecution, arrest, and sometimes even torture and death.

And this admonition wasn’t coming from someone who didn’t understand. Paul had suffered more than most. He was scourged by the Jews five times and beaten with rods three times, he was stoned, he was imprisoned, he was shipwrecked…and the list goes on. (2 Cor 11:24-27) This directive was from someone who knew how to rejoice regardless of his circumstances.

Have you ever asked people how they were doing and have them answer, “Ok…under the circumstances?” I’m sometimes tempted to say, “Under the circumstances? What in the world are you doing under there?” God didn’t call you and me to be “under” achievers. He called us to be “overcomers.” Another response that makes me shake my head is, “Things are awful, but I’m praising the Lord anyway.” Anyway? What about praising the Lord because?

The story came from a young woman at a half way house. I heard her talking about how her addiction had caused her to lose custody of and contact with her kids. She was sharing how blessed she was because she had seen her daughter after three years. Isn’t that amazing? What a gift!

As she continued, I realized the way she saw her daughter was from a distance…her daughter was part of a marching band in a parade. Mom was doing the right things now, but she still had a long way to go before she could actually spend time with her kids. I realize she had done this to herself. Do you think it made her pain any less? And yet there was so sarcasm or bitterness from this woman who was weeping tears of joy.

I’m convinced the only difference between the times I can rejoice and the times I can’t is whether I’m reacting to life or responding to it. When I’m responding to life, I can see each day as the gift it is. Regardless of any problems I might have today, the sun is still warm on my face, the stars still shine in the sky at night, and my God still sits on His throne. My sins, which were many, are forgiven, and I have a home in Heaven. Given these things, how can I not rejoice?

Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, choose to respond rather than react to the problems in your life? Can you choose to rejoice?

© 2014 Precious Prodigal


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