EarthBasic. Take care. Bless many.
There are several reasons to rejoice. Explore each of the cited Scriptures at the close of this week's devotional to learn and or remind yourself of them!
Octopi are perhaps nature’s best escape artists. The octopus has no bones and so can squeeze through a very small opening. In fact, a 200lb octopus can escape through a hole not much bigger than a quarter. Octopi also have remarkable brains, which allow them to devise and execute their escapes. For example, they can work out how to open the lid of a jar from inside the jar! Wow! However, octopi are not the only ones with an instinct to escape. We human beings are just as eager to escape what we experience as uncomfortable and dangerous situations. But, what if the experience of discomfort and the perception of danger weren’t always signals from God to run? What if some were invitations to experience the gift of joy?
Joy is defined as the attitude that God’s people adopt because of their hope in God’s love and promises, regardless of their circumstances.(Word Study: Chara - “Joy”, The Bible Project). It is a choice that God’s people make. It is a choice they make because of their confidence in God Himself: they trust His loving care of them and that He will honor every one of His promises on which they rest.
Indeed, there are times when God gives us direction to escape peril, but there are many circumstances where we are called to confront difficulties and or stand firm in uncomfortable circumstances. The world we live in is far from perfect, but as we mature in our Christian living we can have joy and hope in Christ no matter what is happening.
Unfortunately, almost all of us live in a culture where there is a constant push for worldly comfort and perfection. We yearn to drive a luxury car; live in an extravagant house; eat premium foods; and have the finest bodies. We want it quickly. We want it now! And so, we are prepared to take shortcuts. Hence the popularity of a prosperity message, coming from the hearts of politicians, and even preachers, who hint that discomfort, pain, or poverty is not a part of God’s will.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there is something inherently bad with prosperity. In fact, prosperity can be a gift, when stewarded in a way that holds God high and lifted up. However, the thinking that increased material wealth and physical health are always the will of God is suspect in the broad light of Scripture. Numerous accounts in the Bible, including the very experiences of Christ himself, suggest otherwise. Furthermore, the continuous striving for perfection, and desire for extravagance, leaves us ensnared in a constant state of dissatisfaction. We become like trapped octopi, trying to figure a way out.
The child of God may acquire earthly riches and have a testimony of excellent health all her life, just as much as she may live in poverty and struggle with her health. The walk of faith is not guaranteed to be easy and external factors are not always an indicator of one’s stance with God.
In fact, Jesus lets us know that we will face trouble but, we are to take heart. (John 16:33). And why are we to take heart? We are to take heart because He has already overcome the world and dwells in each of us to give the power to stand flat footed in spite of discomfort and in the face of danger.
He is also ahead of us, leading us into a glorious and imperishable future, where we will suffer no more and fully take hold of our inheritance in Jesus Christ. And in the interim, between His glorious return and now, we rejoice!
We rejoice because we are never alone. (Hebrews 13:5).
We rejoice because He, in whom there is no lack, is with us. (2 Peter 1:3).
We rejoice because our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Luke 10:20).
We rejoice because these earthly afflictions are light when compared to the weight of glory ahead. (2 Corinthians 4: 17).
We rejoice because He is working all things together for our good, for we have loved Him. (Romans 8: 28).
We rejoice because our God promises to turn our mourning into gladness. (John 16:20).
We rejoice because He has never ever failed to keep a promise. (Isaiah 55:11).
We rejoice because in God our today’s are always in His good and pleasing purposes. (Psalm 37:23).
We rejoice because our tomorrows are shrouded in His light. (Revelation 21:23).
Let this song by Eddie Robinson be your testimony all week long:
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is an educator, Christian education youth coordinator, author, singer, workshop and retreat leader, speaker and founder and president of EarthBasic. However, she is first and foremost a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. You can connect with Carolyn on facebook, Instagram and here.