I had been thinking about the past month, which included sickness in our home (including the dog), trying to identify potential food sensitivities (by eliminating a major dietary component), searching for employment, evaluating options for future relocation/employment/education, a weeklong trip away from home, a kidney stone flair-up, and all of the daily things that just go on.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (ESV)
Then I was reminded about other things that happened this month... God's continued provision for our family, new and renewed friendships, encouragement from surprising places, time spent with extended family, closure of a year-long family situation, patient and careful medical practitioners, unexpected time at a women's conference, along with other blessings and graces.
But here's my challenge... what if those other things had not happened? Could I still rejoice in the Lord? It is certainly a struggle to rejoice over difficult circumstances, but why are my eyes so much on the circumstances? Why am I not looking to God first, rather than a change in my circumstances? Why am I not thinking on what is true and honorable? Why is my mind so earth bound?
I need more practice. If I will practice these things, then I will know God's peace. And the last month or so has given me ample opportunity for practice, whether or not I was disciplined to obey.
Thankfully, God was gracious to provide me with big and little encouragers and encouragements along the way. Thankfully, He knows my weaknesses better than I do. Thankfully, He is infinitely more faithful than I am. And I can rejoice in that.