Joy In The Rubble

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
–Philippians 4:11

Would you say that you are reasonably happy? If so, then obviously you are not aware of some very alarming statistics. For example, have you ever eaten a pickle before? Then consider this: 99.9 percent of cancer victims have eaten a pickle sometime in their life. Not only that, 98.3 percent of people involved in car and air fatalities have also eaten a pickle. Most alarming of all: 100 percent of the people born in 1839 who ate a pickle are now dead.

The fact is, if you tie your happiness to circumstances, you are always going to find something to be unhappy about. People who tie their joy to circumstances will always find something to rob of them of their joy in life. That something may be a dysfunctional relationship. It may be pressure at your work. It may be a problem in your finances. It might be a concern about your health or the health of a loved one.

Warren Wiersbe wrote that when it comes to joy, there are thermometers and thermostats. Do you know what the difference is? A thermometer is controlled by the environment which it is in. The mercury rises or falls depending upon its environment. There are a lot of people today who are thermometers–they are up, they are down, depending on what happened at work that day, what happened in their family, or the balance in their checkbook. But there is another group of people who have learned how to live above their circumstances. They are like a thermostat, which regulates its surroundings. It has an internal mechanism that determines whether everything else is hot or cold. People like that do not allow their environment to regulate their sense of well-being; instead, they have this internal relationship with God that allows them to experience joy no matter what is happening around them.

This week we are going to look at a group of people who were thermostats, not thermometers. Even though they were surrounded by the rubble of life, they maintained their joy in spite of their circumstances. Remember, Nehemiah, the urban planner, had to figure out how to repopulate the city of Jerusalem. The wall was there; there just were no people. So he instituted the draft system and he got 10 percent of the people to move back into Jerusalem. Then there was another group of people who volunteered to move back to the city from the comfort of the suburbs. They were so moved by the desire to see God glorified that they volunteered to pick up their families and move back to Jerusalem. And once the people were back in the city, they were ready to celebrate the greatness of God even in the midst of their circumstances.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Joy In The Rubble” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Warren Wiersbe, “Be Rich: Gaining The Things That Money Can’t Buy” (1979; repr., Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009), 139.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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