It is evening. My body is exhausted from sorting and packing. My mind is tired from thinking.
I reach for my Bible to see if I can find some verses to bring me peace. I open my Bible and start reading . . . Suddenly, I read a verse that stops me in surprise. I look at the verse again, and the words hit me and dig in deep.
….always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 5:20
I shake my head in disbelief. How many times have I read this verse? But it never hit me like it is now.
I thought that forgiveness is a challenge? Even as I’m learning to forgive out of obedience, not emotion, and beginning to see some changes in my attitudes.
But this? Thank God, and praise Him, for all the tears and hurts? Thank Him for my husband being unfaithful? Thank God for the betrayal of a woman I’d thought of as my friend?
ohhh, I know Romans 8:28 says …in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. . .
but to thank Him for things that are wrong? How in this world can I do that? This is too much!
I turn back to the two passages I had just read.
1 Thess. 5:16-18 “Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” and
Phil. 4:8-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
OK … I ponder over these verses again.
Be joyful always does not mean be happy always. Happiness comes and goes. It’s a surface emotion. Joy is something deep inside me. I can have a quiet joy, even when things are wrong. because I know that God is with me.
Pray continually. My God knows I’m talking with Him all the time. I couldn’t make it without Him.
Give thanks in all circumstances. Thank Him in all circumstances is God’s will for me as I follow Christ Jesus. I can see that. I am to trust Him and know that all things work together for my good. And His Will is that I do this . It’s difficult, but I can learn how to do this.
Rejoice in the Lord… again, there is the joy – and Paul says it two times, so he is extra serious on this one!
Now why did He say: Let your gentleness be evident to all. Perhaps, because if I follow these instructions, I won’t be full of anger and rancor, and can actually be gentle in my approach with people, not wanting to hit them over the head? hmmm maybe I wouldn’t want to hit them over the head if I obeyed these instructions? Good thought!
The Lord is near. I am so thankful for that! To know that He is here, near me! That helps!
Do not be anxious about anything That definitely goes against my personal tendencies. I worry about and for my kids, and their kids. I sorrow over the hurts of others, their losses. My heart sorrows about so many things… and Paul continues with his thought. . .
but in everything,, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Paul is telling me to take all my worries and frustrations to the Lord and turn them into words, and present them to God. But, look, here he says that when we do this, we are also to thank and praise Him. Thanking and praising God are very important to Him – which means they should be important to me.
The promised blessing when I do this? the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
OK God, I think I get this. It’s sinking in – and in whatever situation I am in, I can obey this and have peace. . . and if I don’t have peace about something, then I need to take it to you in prayer, with thanksgiving.
It’s going to take work – and I see the logic.
But what about Eph 5:20
….always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I do not get this one. I see no logic in it? Thanking you for things that are totally against Your will?
How can I do this???
Next post – I share HOW.
– Voni P.