And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52
In this morning’s reading I read about Paul and Barnabas who had travelled north from Cyprus into Pamphylia Region, they were now in Pisidian Antioch. They were well received having been invited to address the synagogue on the Sabbath. Paul preached the Good News beginning with the Old Testament; Egypt to Canaan, King Saul to King David and his descendant Jesus Christ. It was a powerful message which left the listeners wanting more. The effect on the city and surrounding region was profound, causing much jealousy from the Jewish leaders. These individuals raised a furore and drove the disciples out of town. The disciples didn’t leave grumbling though… they went rejoicing, full of the Holy Spirit.
They had seen great results from sharing the Good News of Christ, experienced opposition and been driven out of town. Yet they did not let mere circumstances dictate how they felt, their confidence came from God the Holy Spirit. Knowledge of this reassured them, filling them with joy. Paul later in his letter to the church at Philippi says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philppians 4:4-7).
Rejoicing is not always easy, often the trials of life drag us down. Be it personal, financial, social, health or even persecution, they all can cause real pain. The key to conquering in these circumstances is found in keeping close contact with God in prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit. Through this He will give us peace and reassurance, blowing away the dark clouds. Seeking Him brings joy in all circumstances, like a serene sunrise after the storm.