1 Thessalonians 5; Isaiah 23-24; Psalm 116
Does God really understand what we go through here on earth? Troubles hit us from every side. We endure sickness and pain. We face constant persecution for our faith. (Ok, maybe not us, but many Christians do.) We deal with financial issues that try our faith and patience. Obviously, each of us could add our lists of complaints to this simple start. We could sit around self-righteously and have an amazing pity party…at least so long as no one brought up these verses. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) That puts a damper on our gripe fest, doesn’t it. As noted earlier, God must have no idea what life is like on earth to allow these words in His word. Paul must have no idea what it’s like to suffer if he wrote things like that. Then we realize that God Himself walked on earth and was abused and crucified. We realize that Paul underwent all kinds of attacks, suffering and deprivation. It was Jesus on the cross who sought to forgive those who put Him there. It was Paul who sang in the Philippian jail. The question then changes. We realize that God does understand what we go through here on earth. How then can we rejoice? How then can we pray constantly? How can we give thanks in the midst of all that happens? We do so because of our faith; our faith that God is in control even in the difficult situations of life. When going through difficult times we rejoice that God considered us worthy to suffer and that He believed that we have the strength to endure. We pray constantly because just as breathing is necessary for life, praying is necessary for our spiritual life and strength. We give thanks in the midst of all situations because we know that God is in control and if we stay faithful to Him, in the long run we will overcome and have victory. As we face the trials of today, let these words of Paul reverberate through your soul today. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Lord, I have it so much better than I want to think. It’s so easy to complain about the problems if I don’t keep my focus on You. Help me to focus on You and on Your way so that I might truly rejoice always today; pray constantly and give thanks in the midst of all things that happen. Give me Your grace to deal with today.