This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
“Rejoice and be glad.” When you wake in the morning, do you rejoice? Are you glad? This morning I woke and opened my bedroom window. I pulled up a chair and read my morning devotion and then just sat and looked out at the green of summer, listening to the birds singing, feeling a gentle breeze. It was so nice to feel the natural air and not have every window shut so the air conditioner can do it’s job. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite thankful for air conditioning, but was very glad for a cool summer morning!
It’s easy to rejoice and be glad in mornings like this one. But the Psalmist seems to be proclaiming something deeper and beyond those easy summer mornings when you feel like getting out of bed and the sun is shining and the temperature is perfect.
It’s a lot harder to rejoice and be glad when our bodies hurt and feel broken or when the rain is pouring and has been for days. It is more difficult to be glad when it’s freezing outside, and inside as well; when you feel you can’t get warm and comfortable. It’s nearly impossible to rejoice and be glad when you are in grief for whatever loss you have experienced.
And what about the many people who wake up after a night of sleeping on the street or in a homeless shelter; what about those who are in third world countries with disease and hunger pains and oppression; with poverty as their constant companion?
When I visited Costa Rica and Mexico I met some amazing people. Most of them lived in very small, modest houses. A few (in Mexico) were in a house with 3 walls (1 side was open), with dirt floors and no running water.
Yet, my observation of most all of the people I met was that, regardless of their situation in life, they were full of the joy of the Lord. They knew how to praise God every day. There was a warmth and an eagerness to give whatever they could and whatever they had in joyful generosity.
One Christmas, in Nashville, Fred, Annie and I served a Christmas dinner to a group of homeless men. We were so blessed by them and their joyful attitude about it being Christmas. We were greeted by many with “Merry Christmas! Thank you for being here with us!”
When I think of people like that, I give thanks and then I ask God to clean me up, give me a right spirit and help me to rejoice and be glad for every day, no matter what it looks like. Because this is the day the Lord has made. If God has made all my days, then God surely is in every one of them with me.
That is great reason for rejoicing and being glad!
I don’t know about you but I have found myself feeling a little anxious and agitated lately, and I suspect I’m not the only one. You all watch the news and know what is going on in the world. I’m not going to list all those things here because I’m committing to a change for myself, my own peace of mind, and hopefully, I will have something valuable to say (with God’s help) that might help others to feel some peace and calm in the midst of all this violent storm we seem to be in.
I joined Facebook several years ago because I found it a great tool for keeping up with my family who are spread out in different places. I would never really know much about my nieces and nephews and their children if it weren’t for Facebook. It isn’t the perfect way to have a relationship, of course. I would prefer actually getting together often. But that is not possible. So, with Facebook, I get to see pictures of family and know what they are doing in their lives. We get to communicate with one another where, if it were up to phone calls or letters, it probably would not happen. Unfortunately, social media has been used as a tool for political posts and hateful comments. People try to outdo each other with their own critical ideas and if you read the threads underneath some posts, it is disheartening to find so many people judging one another and calling them ugly names, making accusations. What is happening to our world, I wonder?
Well, I found myself being caught up in it all, and because of it I have felt that agitation; I have felt a lack of inner peace. And I am stopping it right now! I had a revelation the other day as I was caught up in looking for just the right post that would counter the one I had seen that was opposite what I think. I suddenly realized how angry I felt, how shaky and anxious I was feeling. And the revelation was that, out of all my Facebook friends, I doubt that anything I post will change even one mind. People already have their minds made up. It’s more about stating loudly and sometimes obnoxiously what we believe, even if it intends to put those who think differently down. I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion just because I post something, right? But as a trained pastor, as an experienced spiritual leader, I do hope that I have some ability to help people find some peace and feel more grounded. I pray that I might be a vessel of that peace and that, as I reclaim it myself, it will flow out to all of you.
Remember how Jesus appeared to the frightened disciples after they had witnessed his death on the cross? The risen Lord came to them and “breathed on them” and said “peace be with you.” (Luke 24:36; John 20:21, 26). Finally, Jesus said, in John 16:33: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT)
Is it possible to have peace in the midst of chaos? If we put our trust in Jesus and keep our eyes and hearts tuned to him, we can feel at peace even with all that is going on around us. My commitment is to give you positive things to think on in this time. I will be writing and sharing here on my blog and in some brief videos for the next several weeks about having peace in the midst of the chaos. It’s been a long time since I’ve written but I’m ready to go! I hope you will stay with me on this journey of grace.
May the Peace of Christ be with you all. So be it. Amen.
I am a woman with many interests, yet most of them flow into what is my source of life, my very breath, the reason I do what I do. I am Called. That means, for me, I have experienced a call on my life to serve as a pastor to God’s people. In that calling I love to write, to speak, to lead, and to teach. My deepest desire is to pass on to others what I have experienced in my own journey of grace. I am human, and in that humanity I have known passion and joy, sin and disgrace. Yet, in God’s love I have known nothing but love and redirection and total grace.