søndag 3. juli 2016

Rejoice with those who rejoice

I rejoice for life in all its fullness every day, and yesterday many rejoiced with me – thank you for sharing my joy! 

Last week I had a number of conversations with colleagues, and in one of them, we spoke about the principle of rejoicing with those who rejoice. It is often easier to mourn with those who mourn, than to rejoice with those who rejoice (1). It can be a challenge if the fortunate one is rejoicing for something I would like to have myself, like for example a new corps-building, revival or many new members (soldiers) in the church. Thoughts come sneaking: "why there and not here", "we deserve it more than they do" and so on. When that happens, our joy is destroyed and we lose the blessing of the biblical principle.

Peter gave report to the church in Jerusalem about the new revival in Caesarea. His narrative caused at first a little uneasiness, but then came the joy:

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Acts 11:18 
A shared joy is a double joy. A shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

You may wondered why I use a Barbie doll as an illustration for this reflection. It would not happened only a couple months back, because I can’t stand the whole Barbie-concept, but when in the future I see such a doll, I will remember this:

Two months ago, we were in meetings in a new corps in Lviv (Ukraine). Many wonderful people in the congregation, some with a difficult past, others with a rich life in Christ, but with a minimal of income to sustain their daily needs. During the meal between the two meetings, the officer told that one of the girls present had wished to have a Barbie doll, and one of the foreign sponsors had sent a doll. When I witnessed what took place, I could not help my tears streaming. The little girl’s face beamed with joy, and so did the faces of all the others present. There were other kids there who probably also would have cherished such a gift, and parents who would have loved to have one to give to their kids, but all rejoiced with the little girl who rejoiced. The Barbie doll had ignited a holy moment. The joy is like the grace, it wants others to feel good, when that happens joy and grace comes to me as well.

‘Manna’ for today:

I will rejoice with those who rejoice
(1) Rom 12:15

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