In all circumstances

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians5:16-18 (ESV)

A pretty tall order in this very broken world we live in. Tragedy is all around us. One just need to turn on the news or to social media and we hear and read about:

Senseless mass murders

Senseless loss due to the poor choices of others

Senseless loss of life due to cancer and other illnesses

Senseless loss of the lives of children

I have often read the question “How can a good God allow such senseless things to occur?” but the truth is that God hurts along with us. God only wants good for us, he has plans for us that are good and for our good.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)

So how do these verses, promises from the Bible, fit in with all the senseless things that happen here in this world where we live? Truth is, these are what God chooses for us but he created us with free will and, unfortunately, many make sinful choices that have a ripple affect. That ripple affect causes these senseless losses. It seems no one ever thinks about this ripple affect of their choices until it is too late. I can sadly but, honestly, say that choices I made years ago have caused a ripple affect that has caused a break in my relationship with my beautiful daughter. Do I look back and wish I had the opportunity to make different choices-say different words, absolutely, but that is not possible so instead I:

Rejoice always: I rejoice remembering the good times and cling to them.

Pray without ceasing: I pray that God will heal hearts-hers and mine.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances: Yes, even in the worst of situations and times I can find things to be thankful for.

This is the will of God for me (and you): God’s will for me is to live a life that rejoices, prays without ceasing and lives in gratitude.

When I am faced with all the senseless things, in this world, I focus on what is good and true. We serve a good, good, God who wants only the best for us BUT we live in a fallen world that often tries to take our focus off of Him and put it on our circumstances so we turn from God. It’s at times like these we need to frustrate the enemy and lean into Jesus and allow these circumstances to strengthen our faith.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

In times like these when I can’t change my past and make better choices I don’t have to like my circumstances but I do have a choice to wallow in my loss or look to the Lord to give me comfort, peace, mercy and surround me with His love. When my mama heart hurts and I feel reconciliation is impossible I cling to this scripture:

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Precious Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you for your peace that surpasses all earthly understanding in this troubled world we live in. I ask, Lord, that you forgive me for choices that I made, years ago, and the ripple affect they created. I rejoice in knowing you are who you are and that you are good and only want good for your children. I pray, Lord, that you touch the hearts of all that are hurting in this world and I thank you, Lord, for your grace, mercy and love. In Jesus name, Amen

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Count it all joy…..

Every December I spend time seeking God for what my focus should be for the coming year. One year it was trust, another believe, then my focus shifted from a single word to several scripture verses. Proverbs 3:5-6 were the verses for 2017 and believe me there were times I needed to lean into those words or I would have been crushed by circumstances.

This past December I once again spent time in prayer and these were the verses I was given:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.                                        James 1:2-4 ESV

This definitely has been a year of continually saying…..I am counting it all joy……as many things have come my way, and continue to come my way and also to my husband.

Continual oral pain that has radiated to my jaw, ear and eye.

Complete knee replacement surgery to replace the partial knee replacement I had 10 months prior.

Very painful and slow healing of my knee

Bill’s several cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Bronchitis for me and Pneumonia for Bill

A virus for Bill and I this past week

The medicine for the jaw pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia)that is $7/month this year, will be $100/month next year

to name a few….

Lots to deal with and now, yesterday, in a freak accident, I fell twisting my back, landing on my new knee, both hips, the other knee, somehow cutting my left foot UNDER my shoe and jamming my right hand. Seriously some days I want to say enough is enough.

and then I remember….

I count it all joy, my brothers, when I meet trials of various kinds. I do so because it’s during these trials that I draw ever closer to my Jesus.

I have made the mistake of saying the enemy is attacking us but the truth is we live in a fallen world. In this fallen world we will face many trials. My peace comes from Jesus.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It is what we do in those trials that makes the difference. Do we say “why me?” or do we keep our eyes on Jesus and walk through those trials knowing we are not alone. I would love to say that I do the latter all the time but, sadly, I fall short. I allow temporary pain to keep me from eternal gain. I’m pretty sure that is why James 1:2-4 are my verses this year. I am improving. I stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge that there is purpose in this journey.

God may reveal the purpose to me here or in eternity but one thing I know for sure God will be glorified in this journey if….I count it all joy as I meet these trials.

Do I enjoy these trials every minute of every day? No, to enjoy is a temporary feeling, to live with joy is a daily choice and today, despite the pain, I CHOOSE joy

Heavenly Father, Help us to keep our eyes on you and not our circumstances. Grant us peace and joy knowing you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, you know the plans you have for us and they are for our good. You are our good, good God. Forgive us, Lord, when we shift our eyes from eternity to the temporary. In Jesus name, Amen