Encouragement in Philippians
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand…”Philippians 4: 4-5
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Consider the following scenario: You are one week away from the biggest field trip of the school year. Half of your students have yet to turn in their permission slips, and they’re due tomorrow. One of your few parent chaperones signed up for the trip just moved to the United States from India this year and speaks little to no English. On top of that, you have a dentist appointment this evening for a potential root canal that conflicts with your child’s soccer practice. There’s no way you can pick your child up, take him or her home, and make it to the dentist on time. Life is sometimes stressful.
Now, consider all of this in regard to Philippians 4:4–5. Rejoice . . . always? Even in the midst of all these things? How, under these circumstances and the much more severe and stressful circumstances of life, can we rejoice? Luckily, the answer is found in the very next verse, when Paul says, “the Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5). God is at hand, which means He comes to our aid, and He is coming soon. No matter if life is moving like a smooth ocean or a stormy sea, He is there and has given us the victory through His Son. What more reason do we need to rejoice?
When we know that God is our strength, and our very present help in times of trouble, we can look at our situations in a whole new way. Half of the students need to turn in their permission slips by tomorrow, so thank God that technology has given us multiple ways to communicate with their parents. There’s a parent chaperone that is new to the United States and doesn’t know who Jesus is. This is a wonderful opportunity God has given you: to be someone who helps this parent adjust to the States and shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him or her! You have a hurting tooth, but praise God that we live in a time and place where an educated and experienced dentist can help mend it. Having the opportunity to be helped by a dentist and having a child to take care of are both gifts from God. There is much to rejoice in.
When we go through good times and bad, we can have joy knowing how much God loves us and cares for us. No matter how exhausted, stressed, or confused we may be, Christ has won the victory. When we pray intentionally and read the Word of God, rejoicing in hard times becomes both possible and probable. He is with us, and He is coming soon. Rejoice, always! The Lord is at hand.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.