Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Last week in my weekly devotional, Psalm 116:1-2 said, I cried out to the Lord to hear my voice and my supplications. Little did I know that I had a challenging week ahead of me and that crying out to the Lord was much closer than I anticipated.
I was not anticipating the news that a high school classmate in Jamaica, died from COVID-19.
I was not anticipating a dear man, I grew to know and love from my previous congregation, died.
I was not anticipating my wife going to the ER with health issues they are yet to figure out. (Though much better today, it’s an ongoing battle).
Friends, I did not anticipate such a heavy week.
Yet, here I am today telling you to Rejoice always and pray without ceasing. I did not rejoice well this week and praying did not come easy. Like David, my prayers were in the form of questions. “Why? How long God? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will your people have to suffer?”
Rejoicing and praying without ceasing was not my first reaction in response to all that transpired this week. But, I learned that our ever-present God is constantly with us, putting troubling circumstances in their proper place — under His authority. Constantly rejoicing and praying helps us sense the incomparable joy of God’s companionship, even in our difficulties and sufferings.
If you stop and observe, there is always joy within the midst of your challenges. This week my joy came through seeing your beautiful smiling faces at the drive-through delivery for our “Raid Your Pantry” Church Challenge. I also received much joy, volunteering with the staff at the Prodisee Pantry and serving food to hundreds of Baldwin County residents.
It’s because of this witness of God’s continuous love and joy that I can freely say, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It works! Keep crying out to God because he is hearing your voice and your supplications. Remember friends, in the midst of it all there comes Joy!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, please help me remember to enter a ‘living conversation’ with You. Help me go through this day, with thanksgiving in my heart. Help me see you at work in every situation. Help me pay close attention to the JOY you bring, even amid our sadness and pain. Amen.