Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.”
I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 (NLT)
The apostle Paul wrote the verses for today. This is the same guy who was imprisoned regularly, lashed five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move, in danger from bandits or friends who betrayed him, and was always hungry, thirsty, and sleep-deprived.
And Paul’s advice to us: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.”
Even with Hurricane Matthew beating on our doors this past weekend and apparently still not done with the journey.
The man obviously had a few screws loose.
Why would we listen to a guy who had gone through all of what he went through, and was probably writing out of exhaustion, dehydration, blurred thinking, anger, and was an obvious candidate for long-term psychological counseling?
And so a hurricane runs up the coast of Florida and on into the neighboring states in the Southeast. A tornado whacks the Midwest. You’ve lost a job. A young friend dies unexpectedly. Your boss continues to prove the power of his ego. You anxiously await the doctor’s word on whether he removed all the cancer or it has migrated to other areas. Your parents are aging and changing right before your eyes. Your children are starting in schools where guns are found in lockers. Your wife has just told you she is leaving you. Your children are on a mission trip in a dangerous part of the world.
In the midst of life’s shipwrecks, we discover that our brains are not big enough, our arms are not strong enough, and our reach isn’t long enough to control what we are facing.
And yet Paul says: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.”
Ugh! That’s it? Paul is either a lunatic or delusional! There has to be something else we can do, someone else we can listen to, and somewhere else we can find relief.
But there it is again, in the midst of whatever we face: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.”
Why? Because God has never left us. Because God is “always.” Whatever we are going through—God is still at work. God still sees us. He still cares. He still controls eternity. He still walks beside us, behind us, before us, and carries us when we need to be carried. He is “always.”
It may be hard to admit that our brains are not big enough, nor our arms strong enough, nor our reach long enough to control what our loved ones or we are facing. And yet God, through Paul, tells us to:
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.” It may not only be the only thing we have, but when we remember to whom we’re looking, it is more than enough. For today and all eternity.
God. Always. That’s enough. Be joyful.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.