Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1Thessalonians 5:16-18.
The Lord brought this verse to my mind on Sunday during corporate worship and I admit, I have struggled with it ever since.
Be joyful always--okay. Dictionaries define joy as "feeling, expressing, or causing joy; glad." Um, I don't know about you, but I would guess by that definition that I spend more time than I should *not* being joyful.
I wasn't joyful when the hot water heater blew. I wasn't joyful when J smashed in his car windshield trying to clear off what a freezing rain storm had left behind. I lacked joy when C cut his bangs, I'll tell you that. And I have found it incredibly hard to be joyful knowing that my friend will never again hold her baby boy here on Earth.
So, joyful always is one that I need to work on.
Pray continually--that one stung this last week too. I can tell you that as much as he was on my mind, I prayed for baby C and his parents. I prayed for healing for that boy. That his parents would just have the story to tell him at a later date of how he came into the world. And in my human estimation, God dropped the ball on that one. Maybe I didn't pray specifically enough, I don't know.
Give thanks in all circumstances? Can't say that I have. It's hard when someone you love goes through pain to give thanks. I'm honestly not seeing my way clear on this one either.
But isn't God good? At the same time that He knows that I struggle and question, He gives me a way to ponder His faithfulness. He never said that we as Christians would never experience sadness or hard times or suffering. As a matter of fact, as Christians the opposite seems to be even more true as there is so much evil around us.
But God gives us His grace, free and without limits. 1 Corinthians 12:9 says "MY grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness."
For that I am thankful.