What our minds dwell on matters. Sitting, reading my Bible that morning, I knew my mind had been dwelling on the news and my surroundings a little too much as I felt a tightening in my chest. Corona, is that you? Nope. It was just anxiety. It didn’t help that I happened to be in 1 Chronicles and Obadiah in my Bible Reading plan, making it a little too easy for the mind to wander… A friend texted, expressing fears and a need for Scriptures to meditate on. And I just felt…blank. My own mind too full of news reports and shifting sands. So I prayed. I asked the Lord for Scripture to hold onto. And soon after the word ‘rejoice’ came to mind. Rejoice?? At first I was kinda confused. This didn’t seem like a rejoicing type of moment. But as soon as the word came, so did the scripture,
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, rejoice.”
Looking up the rest of Philippians 4, I found a road map for my soul for this time; a reminder that the Lord was at hand, instruction for what to do with my anxiety, a promise that peace will guard my heart and mind as I lay it all on Jesus.
As the kids and I have meditated on this passage each morning this week, we’ve talked about where our minds go and the importance of what we choose to think about. We’ve talked about what it means to “practice” these things, and how Paul “learned” contentment – how we’re ALL learning right now. As a few tears have come and we anticipate the next month or so, we’ve found comfort in the fact that we are learning together the Great Secret of how to face both these circumstances and ANY circumstance with joy.
And what is that secret? I’m reminded of our Fellowship Group’s study of chapter 3, earlier in the same letter, where Paul says that he “counts everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”. Yes, we might not be able to go out and see those we love. We might be facing many unknowns and frustrations and fears. But the secret is the same today as it was two weeks ago, as it was two thousand years ago.
We can rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, because He is ALWAYS of surpassing worth.
We can be content in whatever the crazy circumstances are today, because He is at hand! He is with us. And He has made a way for us to KNOW Him. We can have peace, because He has made a way for us through Jesus to have access to the Father! We can bring all the big and small things that weigh on our hearts to Him, yes even with thanksgiving, because we are promised that He hears and holds all things. We are promised that we can do these things “through him who strengthens me”.
Paul was in prison as he wrote this letter. He, of all people, knew these things to be true. He knew, as he says later in the chapter, that “his God would supply every need according to His riches in glory”. And so he rejoiced. And so we can rejoice as well.
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