REJOICE evermore. Pray without ceasing. In EVERY thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you~I Thessalonians 5:16-18
When I chose my personal ‘New Years Resolution Word,’ for the beginning of the year, I had prayed about it. ‘REJOICE‘– It sounded good– It felt good. I pictured a year of smiles, happy blessings, good times, white, sandy beaches, blue skies and a view from a picturesque lighthouse…Little did I know that ‘Word’ would involve getting on a sailboat and leaving the safety of the shore.
The year seemed to get off with a good start. I untied the rope and cast off. I was sailing! Along the way, I studied scriptures that involved rejoicing. I prayed. I praised. I knew how to rejoice on good days. Life wasn’t perfect, by no means, but I was sailing the harbor fairly smooth, for the most part. I felt confident.
And then came the heavy rain. It poured down, till I was eventually drenched. The high winds had torn my sails, and I questioned what rejoicing truly meant. My little boat was bruised and battered from the tropical storm, which felt more like a hurricane! Most of the details of the days spent in that storm are way too personal and painful to mention. For months, I was adrift and could not see the shore. Would I ever see land again? I battled sickness and discouragement. But a hunger grew in me along the way to search out what it truly meant to rejoice.
I discovered it was a choice. We have to CHOOSE to rejoice–THROUGH–the good and the bad. When the waves threaten to capsize our boat, we worship, even if it means with tears of pain in our eyes. We throw out an anchor of hope, both steadfast and sure and ride out the storm. Soon, the turbulent seas turn calm again. We can see Jesus waving from the shore! We smile and wave back. We have weathered the storm! It is well again with our soul.
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