First Baptist Church St. Simons Island

Joy in All Circumstances

Joy in All Circumstances

Psalm 16:11

You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalms 16:11).

Christmas of 2009 seems an unlikely example of a time of joy. On Tuesday, December 22, 2009, late that night I received a call telling me my father had passed away. My father and I had talked earlier that evening and our last words expressed our love to each other. Wednesday was spent contacting family and friends, making funeral arrangements and travel plans. The expressions of love and sympathy from so many filled me with joy. How blessed we are to have a loving church family. On Thursday I made the eight-hour trip to Anniston to finalize the service scheduled for Saturday, December 26. I made the trip alone because John would be driving Christmas day collecting the rest of our immediate family as they traveled. God’s presence on the drive gave me strength and helped me focus on the positive rather than the sorrow I felt. After meeting with the funeral director and finalizing arrangements, I joined my step-sister and her family at their church for a Christmas Eve service. While singing the traditional carols and hearing scriptures read, I continued to experience the joy of God’s presence. Jesus’ coming to earth made joy possible even in times of grief. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come.” Christmas Day my family joined me at the motel where we celebrated Christmas. Saturday morning we celebrated the life of my father with family, friends, and his church family. Knowing my father is with God brought joy.

Father, help us experience the joy of your presence in all circumstances. May we always look to you for guidance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.