“The world has a way of brewing some fierce winds. Who among us hasn’t sought protection from the elements of life? If only our storms were limited to wind and rain. Our tempests consist of the big Ds of life: difficulties, divorce, disease, and death.”- Max Lucado
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice.”- Philippians 4:4
In Chapter 2 (“Rejoice in the Lord’s Sovereignty”) of Anxious for Nothing, Max Lucado relates the story of a huge tent his father once bought at an army surplus store. When Max was about nine years old, his father came home with this monstrous tent. Big enough, the author notes, to hold a dozen cots. Two cast iron poles as thick as a forearm supported the tent.
On one particular camping trip with his father’s eight siblings, the sky suddenly grew dark and stormy. As rain popped the ground and wind bent the pine trees, everyone scurried for their respective tents. Soon, though, everyone left their tents to seek sturdier shelter in the Lucado’s tent.
If anyone possessed good reason to be anxious, Pastor Lucado asserts, Paul did. As Paul writes his Letter to the Philippians, he sits in a Roman prison cell awaiting trial before Nero. Yet, Paul’s letter bears not a single word of fear or complaint. Rather than shaking his fist at God, Paul thanks God. And he calls on his readers to do the same.
As a result, Paul uses every tool in the box in Philippians 4:4, hoping to get our attention:
- Paul employs a present imperative tense so his readers hear him saying “continually, habitually rejoice.”
- He removes the expiration date.
- Paul repeats the command.
In conclusion, Max stresses, Paul’s not challenging us to maintain an uninterrupted spirit of gladness. Instead, Max states, this verse calls us, not to a feeling, but to a decision and a deeply rooted confidence that God exists, that He controls everything, and that He’s good.
Today’s question: What Bible verses strengthen your perseverance against the fierce winds of life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Belief always precedes behavior”