Joy & Connections

Happiness depends on happenings;
joy depends on Christ. 

The Passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

I was filled with joy by images of some of our oldest and youngest members this week (photos below). Three are of Bill and Lois Batts. In a Facebook post the staff at the Kenney reported that they "are making the most of these times with a little creativity. Although they live in different buildings and cannot visit each other hand-in-hand, they have enjoyed visiting each other through a window while talking on the phone. Bill even surprised his wife with flowers!" The fourth is of Izzywho we usually see from the back making her way up the center aisle in worshipthis time enjoying a hike with family before the Stay at Home order was issued.

In each case, I was reminded of Paul's words when separated from the Thessalonian believers:

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!

The enforced separations in this season participate in a greater good, but the disease that is causing them is not God's good purpose or design -- although, as with Paul and his brothers and sisters in Thessalonica, no matter the forces behind the separation our mutual hope in Jesus overcomes physical separation with hope and joy in the Lord.

The Prayer

As you pray this morning for those whom you love and long to see, I encourage you to be guided by Paul's prayers of Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians: Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thess. 3:11-13)

The Practice

I wonder what a creative connection would look like from you today to someone whom you love, pray for, and long to see?

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