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Rejoice Always

The apostle Paul wrote about God’s will for us very succinctly in his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:16-18), “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I used to really struggle with this. I used wonder how I could pray without ceasing, until someone suggested to me that we should live our lives as though they were a prayer to God. And then I wondered how I could rejoice and give thanks in the darkest times in life. I thought, “Really, Paul? Rejoice always? Give thanks in all circumstances? Maybe you could have written, ‘Rejoice often. Give thanks in most circumstances.’”  But that’s not what he wrote, is it?
What I’ve come to realize as I’ve gotten older is that in life, we get knocked down a lot. The truth is we will always face some sort of challenging situation in our life – some harder to cope with than others.  We will always have some sort of struggle. And, I don’t know why that is. I just know that it is.
But I also have come to realize that no matter how bad things are, in life there will always be things for which we can rejoice. There will always be things for which we can give thanks. And, if our eyes are open, we will always see the hand of God providing.  The question is where is our focus going to be?
The Apostle Paul reminds us that God’s will for us is to look deeper.
Let us pray: I pray today for those who are really struggling in life; for people who feel as though they are near the end of their rope. I pray that even there, in that place they would know your grace, your faithfulness, your providence. I ask you to meet them today, guide and direct them, give them what they need to carry on. In the midst of it all, may they know your peace and joy which surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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