Dear Brothers and Sisters of Wollaston,
How can we praise and give thanks to the Lord when things are not going well? Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi while he was imprisoned in Rome. Even though he knew he would be executed soon, he truly thanked and prayed with joy for them, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.” (Philippians 1:3-4).
He took the persecution for the Lord as great honor. When we truly love the Lord, we can have joy and peace regardless of our circumstance. I would like to share another testimony from Pastor Merlin Carothers’ book, ‘Power in Praise.’
A Christian woman had been married to an alcoholic for many years until finally he got into trouble with the law and ended up in prison. The wife had struggled to raise their children on the meager welfare allowance they received from the state. Faithfully she had brought them to church and enjoyed the sympathy and respect of her community. … While her husband was in prison, Edna felt justified in getting a divorce. Now at last, she would be free to raise her children in a better environment.
One day a friend brought her a copy of Prison to Praise. It seemed an almost impossible task to thank God for all the years of misery she had suffered, but she read how praise had changed the lives of others, and she decided to try it. “Thank you for Al and his drinking,” she prayed. “Thank you for the years of poverty and fear and loneliness.”
Soon she heard that her former husband had been released from prison and had gone back to his old drinking habits. Still she continued to thank God for her circumstances. Slowly she became aware of some things in her own life that she had never seen before. As she continued to thank God for her ex-husband, asking God to help her love him and accept him just as he was, she began to realize that for years she’d been guilty of something far more serious than drinking.
She had judged him for his drinking, feeling self-righteous and worthier than he was, and at the same time she’d lived each day steeped in self-pity, depression, and joyless martyrdom. “Oh, Lord,” she finally cried out one day, “I see that my sin has been so much graver than Al’s. You gave us the commandment to love one another and to rejoice in our trials, and I didn’t love or find any joy. Forgive me, Lord, and thank You for putting Al in my life so I could see myself. Now make it up to him. Heal the hurts he’s suffered, and touch him with Your love.”
From that day on, Edna found it easy to rejoice in her circumstances. She knew God had brought them about as a part of His plan to fill her life with love and joy. As she continued to praise Him, all the old feelings of self-pity and depression rolled away; each day became a new, joyous experience, and she was aware of the presence of Jesus in a new, exciting way.
Before long her former husband stumbled into a church service, accepted Jesus as his Savior, and was completely healed of the alcoholism which had held him bound for fifteen years. Edna and Al remarried, and Al enrolled in college to start a brand-new life of serving God.
Yes. When we become humble, we can see my sins and forgive others. That is the beginning of the joy in Christ. Let’s look upon Jesus who died and resurrected to love us and gave us the way to His eternal home.
Think of you in Christ,
-Pastor David C.