I wonder if any of you wonderful readers worked out that pray without ceasing… when you need help, or when you give thanks, also includes ‘in all things’.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18
This is a tall order for most of us living in today’s world.
I must confess when our sixteen and a half-year old son died many years ago, we were not thinking of giving thanks… we were praying the ‘help’ prayers. “Help me get through this.” If any of you have lost a child, or know someone who has, you will know that when your body eventually overrules the mind and you sink into an exhausted sleep there is a couple of hours (maybe) of relief. And on awakening there is a blissful moment of no memory (2 – 5 seconds) then it feels like a ton of bricks fell on you. That was my experience anyway.
What didn’t help was a well-meaning church friend who said, “God could have intervened…”
That plagued us for a while. But, in these intervening years, when we have become used to it, I realise it could have been worse. Now, I can see God’s blessing in it. What a world to be a young person in. Suicide statistics are horrifying across many age ranges.
“Suicide has now surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in America, according to a troubling published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday.” Link … http://www.ibtimes.com/suicide-now-kills-more-americans-car-crashes-795223#
This means a severe lack of hope in so many generations.
Hang on. Let’s look at Paul’s life. He describes some of it here…
From the Jews, five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and in nakedness – 2 Corinthians 24 – 27
And this is the man who told the Thessalonians to give thanks in all things… for that matter he tells us to give thanks in all things. He did it himself…
Paul and Silas praised God even when their backs were bleeding and their feet and hands were in chains.
Are we ‘up to’ such a challenge?
It is a matter of trust. Over the years as health problems arose, we (my husband and I) have learnt to trust that God knows what He is doing.
To begin with it can be difficult but eventually it is quite liberating. The responsibility for solving the problem doesn’t rest with me. God has the ‘big picture’. I came to terms with this personally when I was told by three surgeons that I was a walking time bomb. I shared some of this here… http://www.holdthefaith.net/#!walking-time-bomb/c14z
My husband deals with pain 24/7 and has serious lung problems, then he needed an injection in the eye, followed a week later by laser surgery.
We have learnt that God IS in control, and it’s true, although we might feel stretched at the time, He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. When we feel stretched He is helping us to grow in His image.
For even to this were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: 1 Peter 2: 21
Didn’t Christ Himself warn us that the road was narrow…
how strait is the gate, and compressed the way that is leading to the life, and few are those finding it! Matthew 7: 14 (Young’s Literal Translation)
It is clear then… we ARE to give thanks in the trials and sadness as well as in the good things. Learning this is a matter of faith and trust that God knows what He is doing.
And sometimes all we can do is to pray in faith “Thank you for the strength to get through this…”
Remember that God calls those things that be not as if they were (in existence). If we apply that then we are praying in faith – because faith is the substance of things hoped for…
(Romans 4: 17 and Heb 11: 1)
Grow in grace and peace,