Have you ever noticed that when God is speaking a word or message to you that it appears everywhere? I have lost count of how many times the topics of being joyful and being thankful in all circumstances have appeared via scripture, church services, worship songs, posts on facebook… (and that is just in the last three weeks!) It fills me with awe to know God is at work in that way and also makes me feel like I am getting smacked in the head with a “duh” moment all at the same time.
Well, that was easy. That is the discussion question I have chosen this week from Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study. I read that phrase over and over. Easy. Sometimes, the message is so loud and clear and well EASY to hear. The question for me is: do I really listen and then become obedient to live it? At the beginning of December, I “heard” my Savior say…”Get up at 6am and spend time with me…I died for you and you can’t do this for me?” Oh, did I mention that I am NOT a morning person? I have to get up by 6:30 for work and that is tough enough. That thirty minutes is precious to me. It is when I make the effort to hit the snooze button. Amazingly, the next two mornings, my girls (ages 2 and 6) were randomly and pleasantly “up” around 5:55am and then would go back to sleep. Then, the third morning, I woke up at 5:55am all on my own. I argued and fussed with God but He also began to speak words of DISCIPLINE and OBEDIENCE into my life. Consider the latest challenge of the reflection verse (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT) “ALWAYS be joyful. NEVER stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Always.Never.All… this is hard. I am rarely ever joyful and I don’t thank God for bad circumstances until I am out of them and down a different path. As far as praying goes, I know I fall short there too but I have been praying for God’s guidance and strength throughout the day. I need it. I am so stressed and anxious.
I find myself trying to keep my focus on Jesus…on how the Holy Spirit is convicting me…and the awesome promises of God Almighty. Philippians 4:6-7…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Psalms 30:5b…Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. These two verses have meant the world to me lately (I am NOT in control!) and make I Thessalonians 5:16-18 seem attainable. Nothing is impossible for God and it is His will for me to be found joyful always, praying without ceasing, and being thankful even when that is the last thing I feel like doing. Nothing can stand in His way because all circumstances are in His control.
When I reflect on His power, I have no choice but to trust Him. I have made some really bad decisions and super terrible mistakes but I know when I walk through those storms or allow God to carry me, I come out stronger in my faith. I have learned a lot of things the hard way but it reveals so much about God’s character and how patient He is with me. So, I take refuge in knowing that God is in all circumstances and as I am learning to LET.IT.GO. and Let God, I am remembering to always be joyful, keep on praying, and be thankful for all God gives me (allowing for “imperfect progress”). There is a reason for everything and He is the almighty God with the plan.