Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV).
Rejoice always? Pray without ceasing? In everything give thanks? What about when…? We can often miss the richness in verses such as this when we are in the midst of a trial and blinded by the circumstance. Sometimes we get upset and mad at God because we are dealing with a situation we never expected. How can we rejoice, or pray effectively, or even give thanks when we don’t want to deal with what we’ve got?
We aren’t told to rejoice because of what we are going through, this is more of a rejoice in spite of; same with giving thanks. Prayer should come naturally, however, I know that sometimes we don’t know what to pray while in the midst, and sometimes we don’t pray because we feel like there’s no reason to; we give up.
First off, joy and rejoicing are internal, they aren’t based on circumstance, but who Papa is to each of us, and who we are in Him. In His presence is fullness of joy, and His joy is our strength. It’s intertwined. Rejoicing always is saying “Hey, this situation thinks it is going to crush me or discourage me, but Papa has my back and I’m just going to lean on Him and before I know it, I’ll be through it.”
Praying without ceasing is simply just talking to Him during the trial, sharing every emotion, every concern, every small victory and knowing that He’s listening and working. It’s thinking about what He is doing on our behalf and within us.
Giving thanks in everything is being grateful for His hand at work. It is thanking Him for working everything out for our good, and for orchestrating our lives to fulfill His purpose and plan. It is thanking Him for the small victories, for the daily blessings and benefits, for the things we so often take for granted.
These three simple, yet profound, steps push us into growth, and growth is what we want. It is often the difficult and trying times that Papa uses to get us to let go of something in order to take us, or give us, something new. Always for our good.
I love ya, have a great day!