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Cabin Devotion with Miss Maddy

And Again I Say, “Rejoice!”

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you hear us when we pray. Thank you that even when life is hard, you give us reason to rejoice. Amen.

One of my favorite things about Tapawingo is walking into the dining hall singing at the top of our lungs. I love the way we clap until we get inside, then pound on the tables once we’ve sat down. I love the way we start in unison then get faster and faster until it devolves into utter chaos.

One of my favorite songs we sing is:

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!

There are two words in the song that are often overlooked, but incredibly important: And again.

The repetition of the song sort of mirrors these words, doesn’t it? We say the word “rejoice” over and over. These two words are important because rejoicing isn’t something we do once—it’s a choice we need to make again and again. It’s easy to rejoice when we’re at Tapawingo, when we’re surrounded by friends, constantly excited for the activities of the day ahead.

But what do we do when our reasons for rejoicing are taken away? When there’s no banana boating or ABC breakfast or cabin bonding to look forward to?

We rejoice again.

“I wish I could go to camp.”

And again I say rejoice.

“I miss my friends.”

And again I say rejoice.

“What’s happening in the world is really scary.”

And again I say rejoice.

Now, let me be clear: Rejoicing doesn’t mean we force ourselves to feel happy by ignoring what is going on around us. The Bible invites us to pour out our hearts to God, to tell him when we are scared and lonely and angry and sad (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 62:8). God gave us all those emotions for a reason, and they are an appropriate response to times like these.

But we rejoice because when we bring all our emotions to God, he is here and he is listening. He has not left us to fend for ourselves; he sees what we’re going through and hears us when we call out to him. And what’s even more incredible is that Jesus has lived on our earth and experienced the same fear and loneliness and anger and sadness that we have. We rejoice because we are not alone.

And more importantly, we rejoice because we know that the hardship we are experiencing now will not last forever. Revelation 21:3-4 gives us a beautiful picture of what we have to look forward to: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We know that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has overcome death and suffering. In Christ, we can look forward to the day when sadness and tears are a thing of the past. And that, my sisters, is why we rejoice.

With love,

Miss Maddy

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