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Rejoice…

Dec 14, 2013

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say
it again: Rejoice!- Philippians 4:4

Does your joy come and go? Ebb and flow? Is it so connected to your feelings that when life unravels, so does your joy? The apostle Paul penned the above words when he was imprisoned in Rome. Yet he had learned to rejoice always. In every situation. Under any circumstance. I have been learning in a fresh way that choosing to rejoice can require intentional focus when things go wrong and I’m hit with multiple problems at the same time. Let me share just a few of the ones that have occurred within the two months leading up to this Christmas…

At the end of October, my husband was hospitalized, then my father was hospitalized. My father was released, and I drove the four hours up to his home in order to celebrate his 95th birthday. I returned to my husband, who then was also released from the hospital and came home. Two days later I left him in the hands of a daughter and friends, and drove to the The Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove where I led a four day intensive seminar for leaders. The first day of the seminar, my husband had an emergency that involved my direct intervention via several long distance phone calls and consultations. I completed my responsibilities at The Cove, then, on the return trip home, I received a call asking me to turn around, as my father was being readmitted to the hospital. I declined, knowing I had to get back to my husband. I spoke with my father’s doctors by conference call that night. The next day, I once again found myself sitting with my husband in the emergency room. He was sent home, but the following afternoon, I had no option but to put him on an ambulance ninety minutes before I stepped up on a platform to address 1200 people at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes fundraiser. While I was speaking, he was readmitted to the hospital with the help of dear friends. At the same time, my father was released, but this time my husband remained. As I write this, I am sitting in my husband’s room at a rehabilitation center where he is trying to regain his health and strength. In addition to all of the above, I had other ministry responsibilities to complete…and major decisions to make… and Christmas to celebrate…

I share all of these things not to provoke sympathy, but to relate a lesson God is teaching me in the midst of the turmoil. One morning, in my devotions, I was meditating on Matthew 26:30.  Jesus and His disciples had finished their last supper.  Jesus knew He was being betrayed by one of His best friends at that very moment.  He knew He was facing imminent arrest, trials, torture, crucifixion, and death.  He bore the eternal weight of responsibility for fully completing His Father’s will and redeeming mankind from sin.  If ever there were multiple reasons for losing joy, Jesus had them on that Thursday night. Yet Matthew 26:30 says that He sang! That was stunning to me! The insight was not encouraging…it was deeply convicting.  God seemed to whisper to my heart, Anne, if Jesus could rejoice under that kind of monumental pressure and stress, why can’t you?

And so this Christmas, as my gift to The King for His birthday, I choose to rejoice…

sincerely-anne-pink

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