Faith

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks – This is God’s will for you

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is God’s will for my life?”

Where should I go to school?

Where should I live?

Should I take that job?

Does God want me to adopt?

Is it wise to spend money on a European vacation or should it go into my child’s college fund?

…..and the list goes on.

Though we each have a unique set of circumstances with a unique set of decisions to be made, God states clearly in the Bible what his will is for our lives regardless of who we are, where we live and what we are going through.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

While I’m praying, seeking wisdom in the Bible, waiting or moving forward on decisions that I believe are God’s will, I have come to realize that at the same time I can dismiss these 3 simple commands when I:

  • Worry that God won’t answer my prayers.
  • Become impatient that something is taking too long to happen.
  • Feel discouraged because something I planned didn’t work out.
  • Question God’s love for me and feel insecure about His plans for my life.

Obeying this verse is no easy feat, but if God says this is his will for my life and since he created me, then he knows that I can live this way every day of my life.   I have had my share of trauma this past year, and I’m still grieving all my losses, but I want to figure out how to obey 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

For example, how do I rejoice always when I’m feeling sad right now about my divorce and the passing of my sister and mother?   Psalm 77 has given me some insight as to the process of turning my heart from sadness to rejoicing.  The psalmist shows a relentless pursuit of God until he is comforted.

  1. He is in emotional distress and cries out to God for help – can’t be comforted.
  2. He struggles with his emotions – can’t sleep.
  3. He starts to meditate by asking himself a series of questions.
  4. He decides to answer his questions by directing all his focus on God and what God has done.
  5. His focus on God’s power and goodness has replaced his emotional distress.

Below I outline Psalm 77 with the 5 steps listed above.

Psalm 77[a]

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.

  1. He is in emotional distress and cries out to God for help – can’t be comforted.

 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.

  1. He struggles with his emotions and can’t sleep.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

  1. He starts to meditate by asking himself a series of questions.

“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

  1. He decides to answer his questions by directing all his focus on God and what God has done.

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

  1. His focus on God’s power and goodness has replaced his emotional distress

This psalm reminds me that to rejoice always is possible when God is my focus and I learn how to find comfort in Him.  When I turn to anything other than God to find reasons to rejoice, then I won’t be able to rejoice always because only God is good, true, perfect in love and all powerful.

Questions to ponder:

  1. When I’m struggling to rejoice, do I pursue God as this psalmist did? Or do I stop short on step 3 mentioned above?
  2. Do I believe that I can rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances? Am I attempting to obey this verse, or am I dismissing it because it just doesn’t seem possible?
  3. Do I know the Bible enough to meditate on all the amazing things God has done?
  4. What would my life look like each day if I were to decide to obey 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18?

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks – This is God’s will for you”

  1. Happy Anniversary Diane. Who know this year would give you so much to write about…So proud of you and your lovely girl. May God’s blessings shower down on you in this new year of writing.

  2. Thank you for your taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Also your wisdom. A year…. My goodness. So much has happened but you have persevered. You have found joy in life you may not have known was there. Blessings to you and Lian. Praying for your next year to be full of hope and joy. Love Kathy.

  3. 1 year of blogging complete. God has certainly given you plenty to write about, and hopefully your blog has been 1 way to bring some healing and peace. Just like the psalmist, you have been open, honest, and not holding back. God has a plan for you Diane. Even though you may not see it yet, His “Story of Diane” isn’t finished yet.

    1. Thank you for reading my newsletter and blog posts, Lisa. I appreciate all the encouragement you have given me in my writing endeavors.

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