Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Again I say rejoice.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Again I say rejoice. 1
This song, based on Philippians 4:4, is a one that I grew up singing. It’s also the song that popped into my head today after reading Nehemiah 12. The 12th chapter of Nehemiah recounts the event of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, rebuilt after it had been destroyed. What struck me when I was reading it was the singing. If you know me, you know I love anything having to do with music, so of course this would be a great chapter for me to read. But it doesn’t stop there. Verse 43 pretty much sums up what the people were feeling: And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.
They rejoiced. And why not? They were thrilled to have their wall built again, a wall protecting their beloved city, a city given to them by God.
I’ll admit it; this is not an easy thing for me to write. I don’t feel like I have much to rejoice about at the moment. This morning my childhood home, the one I moved into two weeks before my third birthday, the home in which I prepared for my wedding 21 years later, the first home my daughter lived in, the first home my little sister and my oldest niece lived in, the one where we mourned the death of my father, the home that had many memories good and bad, the place we called home for 34 years, was sold. It was a sad night last night taking the rest of the stuff out of the house, saying goodbye one last time to the walls, the rooms, the yard we knew so well. I seriously felt like it was the series finale of a beloved sitcom (Family Ties, Growing Pains, Full House…). Yes, I’m strange and proud of it.
The time leading up to today was also hard. A lot of packing had to be done. Though most of us had moved out, we all had items hanging out around the house, mostly in the attic, and it all had to be out. Completely. Not to mention that one of my sisters was still living there with her two children. They had to be packed up and out. They have no real place to go to, unable at the moment to afford a place of their own. Therefore, it’s off to my house they’ll go tomorrow for who knows how long. Well, God does, and though we see a chance for it to be a short time, He may have other plans. We don’t know right now.
Anyway, to make this happen we have to make room in our home for them. We live in a small 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home. One bedroom is taken up by my husband and me, another is taken up by my daughter (the smallest room in the house), and the third is taken up by my three sons. The solution? My niece will be sleeping in my daughter’s room. Thankfully my daughter has a loft bed, and it’s designed to have a second bed attached underneath. We’ve never had it up before, but the option is there as well as the bed frame, box spring and mattress. My nephew will be sharing my son’s bed, and though this isn’t an ideal situation – the bed is a twin – it should work out okay since my son takes up only a little bit of his bed. My sister? Well…eventually she’ll be in our family/play room. On a futon or sleeper sofa. That we still need to buy…. She’ll have little-to-no privacy (you can see the entire room the moment you walk inside my house), but at least she’ll have a place to sleep.
And that’s it. That’s where the rejoicing can come. If you look back at Nehemiah 12:43 it says, God had given them great joy. God had given them great joy. And God will give me great joy in all of this. He will give me something to rejoice. He already has. For one thing, we have a place for each of them to sleep. It may not be an ideal situation, but we are able to provide that for them. Rejoice. I received an email from a friend this morning telling me that her mom was getting rid of an ottoman that turns into a twin bed. She asked if I wanted it knowing my situation, and of course I said yes, thank you. It will fit perfectly in my family room. Rejoice. Did I mention that it’s free? Rejoice.
Because we live in a different town from where my sister was living, the kids will be going to a new school. Changing schools can be sad, but the kids are excited to start at their new schools. My sister has wanted to move out this way for a while now, and she wanted to put her kids into the same schools my kids attend. Rejoice. At the moment they’ll be able to ride the bus with my 8 year-old son, and my niece will attend the same school as him. He will be able to walk her from the bus to her classroom. Not only is it on his way to his own classroom, her teacher is one of the teachers he had last year for math and reading. This will make it easy for him to know exactly where she is supposed to go. Rejoice.
There is a lot happening here, a lot of good things coming from the sad. If I take a step back, taking a break from all the work I have to do to get the house ready for three new people, forgetting for a moment the difficulties and added stress that may come from this, I can see all the good that is there. I can see what God is doing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else He has prepared for us. I am willing to rejoice in the little things every step of the way. When I rejoice in what He has given me I am a much happier person. I can’t dwell on the things I’ve been dwelling on, for I know He provides and will continue to. I will rejoice, for He has given me great joy.
What about you? What is going on in your life right now that has you down? Can you step back for a moment and see all that is good in it? Can you see what God is doing with and in your situation? Focus on those things which God has given to you. We are to rejoice in Him always, and in everything He provides. He will give you great joy. Accept it. Hold on to it. Let your rejoicing be heard far away.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for showing me the joy in the situations I see as hopeless, stressful, even burdensome. Lord, you give me this joy, you fill my life with it. You, oh Lord, want me to focus on the good. Help me to see that good, that joy, in all things. Give me peace in the storms. Help me to rejoice in You always. In Your Heavenly Name, Amen.
1. Wee Sing Bible Songs: http://weesing.com/Books-Music/Wee-Sing-Bible-Songs