Bible Verse: Rejoice always. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 33
I met a woman dying of AIDS in a Mother Teresa hospital in Mumbai, India. She was a beautiful woman with a warm, sweet smile.
The room she lived in was simple; four concrete walls enclosed the tiny space with one window and one door. She shared the room with three other women, just like her, who were dying of AIDS.
She asked me to play my guitar while she sang me a song. I did my best to try and match my Western musical understanding to her Eastern melody. However, I quickly discovered that musical perfection did not really matter. What mattered was how joyfully she sang her song. I was astounded at how someone undergoing so much suffering in a place of so much poverty could be filled with so much joy.
For her, joy wasn’t about waiting for circumstances to work out in her favour; joy was a choice of how she wanted to live her life.
I think Mary, the mother of Jesus, had times when she wished things were different.
Maybe it was when she placed the perfect Son of God in a manger that she wished things were different. Maybe it was when a bunch of rough shepherds became the first heralds of the good news, or when she had to flee to Egypt to avoid her Son’s murder, or when her twelve-year-old Jesus went missing in Jerusalem.
But if she did wish that things were different, she didn’t give in to grumbling. No, the Bible teaches that she treasured all these things in her heart (Luke 2:19; v. 51).
It was this attitude that made joy a way of life for her.
Paul said that He had learned the secret of being content in every situation: He could do all things through Christ who strengthened Him (Philippians 4:11-13).
Through the Spirit, Jesus will help us treasure our experiences in our hearts. The circumstances won’t matter anymore. All that will matter is Jesus. And with that will come joy.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I want to treasure the things that happen to me. You promised that You would work all things together for my good. I will trust that to be true. Honestly, there are things that I wish could be different, but You know more than I do. Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). So, I will trust You. Thank You that I am not forgotten. Thank you that I am completely loved. Amen.
Reflection: What difficult times are you going through? What do you wish was different? Will you choose to treasure these things in your heart, or will you choose to complain?
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