What follows is the journal entry I made this morning. A few years ago I took to writing my journal entries as prayers to God. This one came out of a tough week. I knew when I was given the topic of rejoicing for my sermon that it would be a lesson for me as much or more than anyone else. I think the Lord wanted me to quite literally practice what I preach, so He allowed this time of testing to help prepare me. So, this morning as I wrote I began to put into practice the advice that I plan to give on Sunday for choosing to rejoice. I call it The Four R’s of Rejoicing.
I don’t know how I feel this morning. There’s some guilt because I fell short this week in many ways. I know what to do about some of that, but not everything. In two days I’m going to talk about choosing to rejoice. It’s time I learned the lesson. Is my own formula, so much as it can be called that, worth anything? It’s time to try it. I feel better already.
I do remember what You have done for me. Though it humbles and shames me for I know how little I deserve, it also encourages and strengthens me to know that You have always been with me. You have taken all my trash and are turning it into treasure. Though guarded, I have more hope now than I’ve had in many years. You are good to me. You meet me in my weakness. I should be celebrating all the time and devoted to You without reservation for no other reason than that You paid the price of my sin for me. Yet the reality of what You did is easily lost in the swirl of everyday existence. If You owe me anything it is judgment and death, but You have given me mercy and life. You keep giving, quietly orchestrating my life to be what You want it to be despite my foolishness. You love me and want good things for me. To You I gladly give control.
I may not know the reasons why things happen, but I do know I can trust You. I could imagine reasons, but that is rarely very helpful. The best place to redirect my thinking in those times is right back to remembering who You are and what You’ve done. In the face of such goodness, why would I think You mean anything but the best for me, whatever the current circumstance?
The closest I can get to reproducing at this very moment I suppose is to share the contents of today’s journal entry. I hope that doing so encourages someone else today, reminding them that You are a good and loving God. We can choose to rejoice in that, just as You commanded. Why would we not choose joy over sorrow, delight over depression and faith over fear? This is my choice today.
Please forgive me for not making the choice in the past. I am returning to You, the source of my salvation and all that is good in my life. You are Lord of my life. To obey You is to love You and find my own fulfillment in the process. You paid the price for me. This is one time when it’s good to be bought. I can’t see where I’m going, so I’d better let You do the driving. You’ve got the keys anyway. Thank You for redeeming me in every way. This is truly a day to rejoice.