We began this series by looking at the news and asking, "Why be joyous?" When we began, the headlines read like this:

 Baghdad Explosion Kills At Least Six

 SARS Epidemic Continues To Spread

 Scott Peterson To Face Death Penalty For Murder of Wife/Son

Since that time, Baghdad has fallen and is in the process of rebuilding, the SARS epidemic is no longer dominating the headlines, and we still don't know who killed Laci and Connor Peterson. So what's new with the news?

A Recent Trip Home

I grew up off the coast of Georgia. Recently, during a return visit and as we drove along the marshes, my mother looked out the passenger's window and said, "Tide's in" or "Tide's out."

Life-and the news-is like the tide: it keeps coming in and going out. Good news is followed by bad news, which is followed by good news again.

Aren't you glad we serve a God who is like the tide, but whose promises are not? Allow me to clarify.

Like the tide, we can always count on God's continuity, His ebb and flow. Unlike the tide, however, God's promises never change. His Son's death, burial and resurrection have given us more than a few reasons to rejoice-no matter what life has to offer, whether the tide is in-with all its power and might-or out, showing the underbelly of the marshes, reeds swayed by the wind.

A Look Back At Parts One through Five

We began this series by looking at a verse of Scripture from 1 Peter, which reads:

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:6b, 7)

The question raised was: In what do we rejoice?

By looking back at verses 3-6a we discovered we rejoice because:

1) We have a new birth into a living hope.

2) We have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven just for us.

3) We serve a God of mercy.

4) We have been given the precious gift of faith, which when tended properly, grows like a lush garden.

Reading a Bit Further

A few verses after Peter writes, "who through faith are shielded by God's power," he concludes his thoughts with:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1: 8-12)

Though You Have Not Seen Him...You Love Him

Skeptics will say that it is impossible to love someone you have yet to see...or meet face to face. Yet ask those same doubters-say, a woman-how she felt about the child carried in her womb before birth, and she will tell you, "Oh, yes. I loved my baby even before I laid eyes on him." Ask a father, and he will tell you the same thing, entertaining you with stories of kissing the baby through the stretched skin of his wife's belly or reading to it, singing to it...even choking back tears of anticipation.