Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Now that’s a word to consider. What word? Circumstances, you don’t like difficult circumstances. Does anyone like difficult circumstances? You have a point there, but most people don’t know what you know. What do I know? What has happened to you when you have gone through difficult circumstances? I’m not sure how to answer your question. Then I will ask you more questions. I’m listening. When have you felt closest to me? When have you drawn nearest to me? When have you know that I was drawing nearest to you? Have you felt closest to me when everything is going smoothly? I wouldn’t say so. What would you say? I would say that sometimes I have been quite distant from you when I thought things were going smoothly. Why is that? I’m sorry to say that in those times I may have thought or felt that I didn’t need you quite as much. Was that good thinking on your part? No, it was not. I have learned that there is never a time or place in which I don’t need you. That’s good. So, when have you most strongly felt my nearness to you? I have most strongly felt your nearness to me when things have been going terribly wrong. I have most strongly felt your nearness to me when I have been going through heart breaking difficulty. There has never been a more true statement than, “you are close to the brokenhearted.” How important is it that you know that? It is vitally important that I know that you are with me to help me through every difficulty in life. See, you do know something. How does it make you feel to know that I am with you to help you through every difficulty in life? I feel joyful and thankful that you are with me to help me. Are you telling me that it is possible to be joyful and thankful as you go through difficulties in life because you know that I am with you through every one of them? That’s right. That’s very good. Yes, it is.
What else has happened to do you as you have gone through great difficulties? I have drawn near to you. I have come to rely on you. I have prayed. I have asked for your help. Have I helped you? Yes, you have helped me. You have never left me alone. You have never abandoned me. No, I have not. Has your hope and faith and trust in me grown as you have gone through great difficulties? Yes, it has. Wait a minute, are you telling me that you know your praying to me as you have gone through great difficult has caused your hope and faith and trust in me to grow? That’s right. That is very good. Yes, it is. Will you keep on praying joyfully and thankfully as you go through difficulties in life? Yes Lord, I will. That will be very good.
Lord, I’m not a fan of difficult circumstances. It has been hard for me to pray through all the difficult circumstances of life. Yet, I will keep on joyfully and thankfully praying to you because I know that you will use every difficulty to accomplish your work in me. Amen
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