Rejoice

Time Can Capture And Place A Person In Its Holding Cell

Ed, my neighbor next door, was held captive by too much time last week. He kept waiting to combine, but the time never came. His time passed, as if, he was stuck in a slough spinning his tires. My neighbor said that he doesn’t like that time keeps passing, without our house selling. Apparently, he wanted to celebrate its sale at his Thanksgiving dinner but couldn’t. Ed claimed that, he could be fully thankful when he hadn’t completed his harvest yet, and his next door neighbor hadn’t moved. He told me that the time my house has been up for sale has been proof that God doesn’t answer prayer. He said that every time he looks at the real estate sign, he whispers, “Take him away, Lord; we can spare him!”

I didn’t want to discourage Ed’s praying with the truth that,” A day is like a thousand years with the Lord, and a thousand years are like a day.” Time is measured in days of twenty-four hours, but not all days are equal in length. Some days, do not have enough hours for what we want to get done, and other days drag on for an eternity. Few of us are content every day because the circumstances of our days can vary greatly. Time may seem pleasant if we have plenty and desperate if we are hungry with no hope of food to eat. It is easier to pass a day in good health than to struggle through a long day in pain. In West Africa, every day may be unending with dread of who will come down sick next, and suffer and die of the Ebola virus. Time passes and life can change for both good and evil, a sticky blend of sweet and sour.

How can we be content in all circumstances? According to the Bible, our contentment is never based on our particular circumstances. Our contentment is in God for He alone can fill us with peace that surpasses all understanding. Paul suggests we never forget that Jesus is at hand ready to return to earth. We are to live with a larger view than what is our present circumstance. Paul had a life where he experienced great blessing and great opposition. He faced hunger and plenty; ship wrecks and beatings, hatred and imprisonment. Even facing death, his heart and mind were content and secure in Jesus Christ his Lord. Whatever he was enduring whether sweet or sour, he was strengthened through Jesus. It was Paul who taught that we rejoice in the Lord, always, as we meet everything in thanksgiving and prayer. For example, if we find we have a flat tire we give thanks for all the miles we have travelled without one. Jesus set an example of gentleness and consideration for others rather than himself. Contentment comes by focusing on God’s ways; love instead of hatred, pardon instead of injury, hope instead of despair and the power of God’s forgiveness for our peace beyond our circumstances.  Our thoughts determine our words and actions. Thinking about our good or bad circumstances is a dead end. Paul thought and said, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

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Raymond Maher
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