We sat together and talked for a long time and it wasn’t what I expected. I don’t even know why I still think our conversations will be anything but extraordinary. I should know better by now but He still surprises me every day.
Oh don’t get me wrong, it was deep and engaging as usual but the content…nothing of the usual stuff. We were discussing life…all of it as everyone says the good and the seemingly not so good. I was surprised how much adjustment my perspectives still need. You know that place when you feel you are growing and then realise there is still room to grow all the time? That is the place I found.
You see, I was mulling about the reality that so many have died, struggled, suffered, lost jobs, business etc. then it swings the other way to all those who have been winning, succeeding, expanding, growing or thriving this year and to many it feels like this is more than we can handle. Every time I hear of one or the other swings, I would stop and wonder, mull over matters and try to find solutions. My mind would build scenarios of reasons and lessons yet every time I asked why He was silent.
It was confusing and disconcerting for a while, yet scripture would remind me to, ‘16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ 1 Thes 5:16-18.
My mind remained here for a while. There was so much to unpack that would help me find lasting balance and clarity. This is what I understood:
- Rejoice always: let nothing stand in place of your joy, be sure that everything is seen through the eyes of gladness from the heart and mind of God. Rejoice is deeper than be happy, it is about deep joy and great delight. It connects with pleasure, gladness, delight, elation, jubilation, euphoria, rapture, celebration, festivity, exultation, among others. It is a steady state that isn’t affected by the state of affairs of life around us.
- Pray without ceasing: this is a call to be anchored in consistent, deep communion and conversation with God. It is the call to live life breath by breath with and in God, never losing sight of Him, never in doubt of His good plan, never wondering if we are in the right place because we have clearly heard and obeyed His word. It is to be still and listen to His response and ideas before we speak and to be aware that His word is supreme and He never fails to answer.
- In everything give thanks: gratitude. Wow! To be thankful for everything; to be thankful that every situation is an opportunity to learn. To be thankful that nothing is a mistake; to be thankful as a route to rejoicing.
- For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you: our Father desires that we walk in His plan because it is the only sure thing in life. His plan isn’t about keeping us happy rather it is about giving us the opportunity to showcase Him with every breath and to bring peace and change to the world around us. It is important to understand that His plan for us leads us to the end line He has predetermined that will bring us all the success and grace we need.
In some ways this is easier said than done but from our conversation I realised that the real win is in the permanent and irreversible shift to a place of absolute faith and trust in God that all things will indeed work out for good and produce His plan and purpose to His honour and glory. Even the apostles didn’t have it easy but they were sure to count it all joy when they fell into various trials, knowing that their faith produced patience and once patience had its perfect work, they would be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
No matter how hard it may be…I will stand and be counted for His glory.
‘…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8