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Rejoice!

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Rejoice!


by Sally Fradkin

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:1-5

I left the grocery bags on the kitchen counter and sank into a chair. Each week, food shopping had become more difficult. Despite the melting ice cream, I needed to rest before unpacking. Post-Polio Syndrome had weakened my leg muscles. Although I could still walk, it might be only a matter of time before I’d be forced to use an electric scooter or wheelchair.

I thought about the verses I’d read that morning in Romans. In 5:1-11, Paul used the word rejoice three times. The second verse made no sense to me. Really, Paul? I’m supposed to rejoice in tribulation? How could the prospect of being further disabled fill me with joy?

I put the groceries away and opened my Bible again. In 5:1, I read, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” For all eternity, I was going to be with the sovereign God of the universe. Wasn’t that reason to rejoice? Not really, I murmured as I massaged the cramp in my leg. That’s someday; this is now.

Although I’d prayed many times for healing, the Lord’s answer had always been the same: “Wait.” The word steadfastness jumped out at me from verse 3. Being firm and immovable leads to God’s approval and to hope.

As I thought about it, my life held many reasons to hope. I was still walking. I could get in my car and drive to the supermarket. Better still, I was surrounded by people who loved me. God had blessed me in many ways. Most important was the gift of salvation I received through Jesus. Surely, that was a reason to hope and to praise God.

Verse 5 promised the hope God had given would never be put to shame. Truthfully, I didn’t relish the idea of rejoicing from a wheelchair, but it wasn’t impossible. Like Jesus, I had to say, “Father, Your will, not mine, be done.”

Today, I no longer can ride a bicycle, nor walk long distances. At 75 years old, the Lord still isn’t finished with me. In His wisdom, He’s teaching me to accept help with heavy tasks from others younger and stronger than I. I don’t have to be Mrs. Tidyclean. Someone else can help scrub a floor or clean a bathroom.

I can visit with friends on the Internet, read and learn. My legs are growing weaker, but I can still serve the Lord in many ways. Paths will open up, if I remember He’s in charge, not me.

I also have a future hope. Someday, there will be no more mourning over lost strength or pain in my legs. Who knows? When I praise Him, I might even be able to dance as David did!

 
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