The book of Philippians is often called “The Epistle of Joy.” In his letter, the Apostle Paul writes that contentment, peace, and joy can be ours anywhere and in any circumstance, if we know and follow Jesus Christ. Paul would know. He faced severe hardship, poverty, beatings, illness, and imprisonment but enjoyed contentment and peace by following Christ’s example of humility, sacrifice, and service.

As followers of Jesus, Paul tells us that we are responsible for working out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12) by obeying God and living lives worthy of the gospel. Our September memory verse tells us that it is the power of God’s Spirit working in us and through us that provides the energy to fuel our desires and our actions to fulfill His purpose.

We have all experienced situations where this power is especially evident; our family had one such situation recently. Our granddaughter Sofia, born in February 2020, was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and had several health issues, including a heart defect requiring open-heart surgery. Our son lived three hours away from us by car, and he and his wife both worked outside the home. They needed help—but we liked our lives just the way they were. Greatly conflicted, we prayed that the Holy Spirit would take over our minds and our bodies and lead us according to His good purpose.

As though we were on autopilot, the three of us emptied a lifetime of stuff from our home in Medina, Ohio, and 12 years of stuff from our home in Florida, sold both houses, and moved to Dayton, 15 minutes away from Sofia. We now care for her 10 hours a day, three days a week. We had neither the desire to change our lives nor the energy to prepare two homes for sale. That is why we say “the three of us” because it had to have been the Holy Spirit working in us and through us that gave us the desire and the energy necessary to satisfy God’s plan and purpose. And we are so thankful.

At five months of age, Sofia had two open-heart surgeries that repaired her heart. She is an inspiration and a blessing to us. Many have commented that “things really fell into place for you.” Yes, God is good and can make it look so easy.

As believers, be attentive when God calls on you to play a part in His good and pleasing purpose. Be filled with joy and humility, knowing how valuable and important you are to Him. And be in total awe of God’s incredible power. We are.

by Bob and Mimi DiTommaso