Posted: 3/23/20 at 12:00pm. Written by Tommy McDearis.
Philippians 4:4 … “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice!”
Some years back, I visited with a parent whose teenaged daughter had died amidst tragedy. As one might imagine, her heart was broken. Yet, I was surprised by her positive attitude. I asked her how she could be so positive under such painful circumstances. Her answer astonished me.
Miriam said, “I suppose I believed in God before my daughter’s death, but my daughter was always the spiritual leader of the family. That girl had a heart for God from childhood.
“After Caitlin died, my husband and I found her diary as we were cleaning out her dorm room. Most girls write about their crushes or their insecurities. From the time she was ten years old, Caitlin’s diary was a love letter to God. For nine years, she wrote one testimony of faith after the other, and by the time we finished reading her love letter, we had both given our lives to Jesus Christ. Now I travel around the country telling the story of Caitlin’s faith, and I rejoice in how our faithful daughter led us to God’s love, even after she had gone to be with the Lord.”
Miriam said, “I’m positive because I’m grateful that God blessed me with a daughter like Caitlin, and I’m thankful that, thanks to my girl, I know I’ll see her again…and forevermore.”
When Paul wrote Philippians 4:4, he was an old man who was chained within the confines of a Roman prison. His food was sparse, his comfort was diminished, his days were long, and he knew in his heart that he would soon die via Roman execution. Yet, unlike most Roman prisoners, Paul spent his time writing what became his most beautiful of letters to his beloved church in Philippi. No tome of grievance and complaint is this one. This letter to the church at Philippi is so positive, it became known as, “Paul’s treatise on joy.”
Today, we live in uncertain days. A virus has invaded our peace. Our equilibrium has been disturbed. What tomorrow will bring is uncertain. Yet, this we know: God is with us. His presence is eternal, his light illumines the deepest darkness, and his love is so powerful, it can even bring change and rejoicing from the grave.
Take heart, God’s beloved! Rejoice amidst the turmoil. The Lord’s voice is speaking, and neither the silence of a creeping virus nor the roar of a frightened world can dull the sound of the gentle whisper that speaks peace and courage to our troubled hearts.
“Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say…rejoice!”
Thanks be to God!
Tommy McDearis is Senior Pastor of Blacksburg Baptist Church in Blacksburg, VA.