Rejoicing in the Rain, Smiling through Pain

Most of us seek to avoid pain, or we choose our pain carefully. I like the burn of a good healthy bike-ride or an exhilarating swim. For my husband, a good hike through the woods or a day spent antiquing is worth the pain, occasionally. He has been known to stand for hours outside our rented church building and discuss theology with friends. That night he will inevitably pay for this indulgence with a sleepless, pain-filled repose.

Other pain we have zero control over. Not one of us would have chosen stage 4 breast cancer for their personal pain.  Paul addresses this in Phillipians. “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again I say rejoice.” We might be smiling through the rain of tears down our cheeks, but we always, always have something to smile about as a child of the heavenly Father. “In the LORD” causes us to remember His sweet, undeserved love.  In addition to His love which has been shed abroad in our hearts, He gives us many tangible gifts- family, friends, the beauties of nature, and one of my personal favorites, chocolate.

Just a few moments ago, I was enjoying a beautiful smile, and thinking of the many (but still far too few) moments of love and laughter my sister-in-law Jessica and I have shared. I think some of her most beautiful, radiant smiles have appeared since her diagnosis with stage 4 breast cancer. She KNOWS from the bottom of her heart that her God LOVES her and is WITH her.  Thank you, Jessica, for modeling Philippians 4:4 for your family and friends.  In return, let us love you like Christ loves us, and lay down our lives and sacrifice in special ways for you and your family’s well-being. Image

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