By Laura Hernandez
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. –Philippians 4:7
The Biblical call to rejoice in the the Lord is one that is probably quite familiar to each of us fellows and members of the Christian community. The Lord continually encourages us in his Word to rejoice in him, even in the midst of difficult circumstances, and to give thanks and praise him throughout both the sunshine and the storms of our lives.
Sometimes though, operating out of a place of genuine joy can be a whole lot more difficult in every-day practice. This fall especially, I’ve been thinking about how challenging it is to understand what true joy in the Lord actually means and looks like. Many of the blog posts have already talked about how intensely busy and stretching this year in the Capital Fellows program can really be. We’re caught in a season of huge transition as we begin to dip our feet into “real” adulthood, while juggling many different hats in our various responsibilities and filled-to-the-brim schedules. All the while, we’re also attempting to maintain old friendships, invest in and foster new ones, begin considering more permanent life plans for next year, and wrestle with our own personal and spiritual growth in the midst of it all. The result can sometimes be quite overwhelming—so much so that genuinely obeying that call to rejoice might seem like a distant, unrealistic expectation at times.
One thing I have begun to more fully understand this year, though, is that sincere, abounding joy in the Lord is so much more than a feeling that is influenced by our current season of life or contingent upon our present circumstances. It is a heart posture that leans into God’s promises that we know to be true, even in the midst of busyness, stress, sadness, anxiety, fear of the future, fear of the present, and everything in between.
In our Leadership, Vocation & Society class with Rev. Dr. Irwyn Ince, we have been learning that effective, Gospel-shaped leadership is characterized by vulnerability and embracing the messiness in our lives because God uses that mess to stretch and grow us in ways we would not otherwise. Even despite how painful, uncomfortable, or scary such vulnerability can sometimes be, we are still free to embrace joy and peace because God’s presence and promises are real and are strong enough to carry us through it all. This is so much more than a stoic, grin-and-bear-it attitude towards the more challenging moments in our lives. It’s a genuine belief that we serve a good, mighty God, who is with us and for us. Because of that, we are free to rejoice in him in every season.
The words of Psalm 34 have especially been echoing throughout my life during recent weeks, and it offers some powerful reminders of these promises for us to hold onto.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. –Psalm 34:8-10
My prayer for us fellows this week is that as we continue navigating our way through the highs and lows of this year and beyond, that we would cling more tightly to these truths and that we would taste and see that the Lord really is good in every moment of this life. Because that is undeniable cause for rejoicing.
Pictures from the Week
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Capital Fellows is a leadership and vocational development program for recent college graduates. It's a 9-month program that includes a paid job in your field of interest, service in the church and city, a personal mentor, vocational coaching, life with a host family, and customized seminary courses to help you grow in your walk with the Lord in all areas of life.
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