Saturday, October 3, 2009

JOY # 2


"So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus." v. 1:7-8

I can rejoice and give thanks to God in all my circumstances because I do not have to walk through life alone.

Yes, there are situations that call for aloneness. There are times in my life when God has to separate me, maybe only emotionally, from those I love. Those are times when I need to hear Him. When I need to cry out to Him instead of someone else. He knows my tendency to "people worship." He knows that it is much easier for me to run to someone I can see with my eyes than it is for me to run to Him. God knows that I usually want a quick fix. That I just want relief from the pain. He knows I want a band-aid instead of a remedy.

Jesus knows He is My Remedy.

I love the way David Crowder reminds me of that in the song, "Remedy."

However, Paul knew, and I know, that God takes great joy in seeing His love overflow through us into the lives of others.

Paul wrote the above words to people he had not seen in a while. People he didn't spend time with chatting on a cell phone. Paul and the people at Philippi didn't share e-mails. The recipients of this letter didn't go out to lunch once a week or hang out at the beach with Paul. They weren't family. They didn't have a long history. Paul knew he would probably never see them again.

Their one connection was Jesus Christ.

Paul is using some intimate language here. He is talking about his feelings. His heart. His longings.

Paul is using words that make most of us feel uncomfortable.

I have been blessed to have a family, immediate and extended, that loves me.

I have been blessed to have friends with whom I share history and memories.

But, in the last few years I have been blessed to have relationships with people like the relationship that Paul had with the believers at Philippi.

Relationships where the only connection is Jesus Christ.

Loving people that I seldom see.

People I don't visit with over lunch or have over for dinner. I love people without knowing their cell phone numbers. I love people that I have met one time. I love people I have never met. I love people without knowing their last names. I love people and don't know their e-mail addresses.

I love people that I know nothing about except they know and love My Jesus.

I love them and long for them in a way I never knew was possible, and words can't describe.

And that love is from God.

That's the kind of love I hear in the words as Paul shares his heart.

So, I can rejoice because God has given me a family to love me and for me to love.

I can rejoice because God has given me friends with whom I share a history. Friends I see as I look through photos from the past. Friends that have loved my children. Friends that have made Seth and Ethan's lives, as well as mine, richer.

And, I can rejoice because God has given me "just my Jesus friends."

I can rejoice in "whatever" because. . .


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