Discarded clothes piled high on the dressing room floor around my feet. Why is it so difficult to find something that I not only like, but that also fits properly?

It was almost time to pick up my son from after-school football practice so this torture session had to come to an end very soon.  I just wanted to try one more size. Maybe I’d get to leave with a new pair of jeans. Taking my purse with me – safety always comes first – I hurried out to grab that one last thing.  I quickly ran to the jeans rack with store tags bouncing from both my shirt and my pants.

I couldn’t have been gone more than two minutes, but when I returned the dressing room was empty. I was sure I’d entered the right one, but checked the others close by just to confirm. No, this was the right one. Same stain on the carpet.

But the room was completely, totally empty. All of the clothes I had tried on were gone – no big loss – but so were the clothes I had worn into the store. Someone had taken my clothes!

Joy can never be takenI had to find my clothes fast. I ran out of the dressing rooms and scanned the floor for an employee, but there wasn’t anyone in sight. So I headed to the closest register and interrupted the sale in progress to report my missing clothes, emphasizing my time constraint. She didn’t seem too thrilled about helping me, but agreed to call someone.

After waiting a couple of minutes for someone to show up, I decided I had to take action. I would conduct my own search. If I didn’t find my clothes quickly I would just have to risk a shoplifting charge and pick up Mark in the ones I had on.

I checked the rack outside the dressing room where unwanted clothes get returned. Not there. Next I began to check the other racks starting with the ones closest to the dressing room and working my way out. It didn’t take long before I spotted them. My shirt and pants had been hung on a rack among clothes displayed for the customers.

They didn’t have price tags. They didn’t have security tags. But there they were.  Seriously.

My stolen clothes were found. A super-quick change later and I was in the car on my way to pick up Mark.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Keep a close eye on your clothes in the dressing room. They can be stolen.

Other things can be easily stolen too. Bicycles. Wallets. Cars. Even your identity.

And we talk of our joy being stolen. But Jesus said the joy He gives us can never be taken away (John 16:22). That’s because the joy He gives us is based on eternal circumstances that can never be stolen or shaken or changed.

Our joy in Christ comes from the salvation He gives. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and 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” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Lasting, inexpressible, glorious joy! That can never be taken away! Hallelujah!

Have anything important ever been stolen from you? Do you feel vulnerable to theft? Is it reassuring to know that your joy in Christ is secure?



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