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Posts Tagged ‘1 Thess’

Absurdity

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’ve blogged about this passage before, about how 15 years ago (!) I had just read and journaled about it when I learned my dad was in ICU. It’s remained a powerful passage for me ever since in both trials and blessings.

It truly is a remarkable thing to ponder. Over the years it’s come to mind repeatedly in very different circumstances:

  • as I traveled through the darkest time in my life dealing with depression and loss
  • as I struggled in my marriage and through the process of rebuilding & growing closer again
  • as I walked with my mom through serious health and mental struggles
  • as I’ve given up some very big and long-held dreams for myself
  • as I’ve looked at the messy world around me and have been angry about politics and news and actions of my fellow man

Am I really supposed to embrace that passage and to rejoice always? In each of those circumstances am I to truly give thanks? Are they really God’s will for me?

How absurd!

And yet … there it is. What does it mean, really? How can I truly believe it, embrace it, and integrate it as part of my life of faith?

The thing is, I do believe it – at least at some level. I do know that God brings good out of evil; that all people have blessings and trials and “what we do about them” shapes who we are. I do believe the poem, The Plan of the Master Weaver (found here) is wise and that dark threads are important in our lives.

The challenge for me is learning to live it, to trust God. That brings me back to prayer – and maybe that’s the point of it anyway.

More and more I understand how little control we really have. Anger and worry always makes me more miserable but don’t solve the problem. I’m learning (over and over) to just take care of the things that God has placed before me, to offer kindness and mercy to others, to try to make my little corner of the world a better place, and to leave the rest to God. He’s got this … really.

And somehow over the years, that passage has come to seem more possible and less absurd.

 

 

 

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Sometimes life events really stink – some in large ways, some in small ways. And these can be very revealing … about ourselves, about others, about what we see as silver linings, and about what we hope may come of it all.

Life Stinks #1: Friday morning I learned that my boss’ wife, who is also my friend, was in a very serious car accident. She fell asleep while driving her brand new Highlander, hit a guard rail and was deflected into a concrete bridge support. She had to be cut out with the jaws of life and cracked a vertebrate in her neck. She is bruised and battered from head-to-toe and in a lot of pain … but wow, I think it is a miracle she escaped with only those injuries.

Revealed: a great deal of wonder and gratitude at how she was protected; her family’s faith and support for her and for one another is evident and amplified; my hope is that God will use this in very positive ways especially for their son who was just released from prison and is trying to build a new life.

Life Stinks #2: Friday evening my cousin Julie called with news that my aunt Diana had suffered a brain aneurysm Tuesday evening. Julie had just arrived in Phoenix to be with her and was trying to reach my mom. It’s not known whether Diana will survive. I located mom and gave her the news; I found a ticket for her to fly out of Omaha to Phoenix; I tracked her flights yesterday and know she got in late and was hoping to spend the night in Diana’s room. I’m waiting for a call this morning to find out what’s going on and I’m sure second-guessing myself, whether I should have traveled with her. Diana

Revealed: I am reflecting on the fact that no matter how weary I am of this world and ready to go home to the LORD, death still stinks. I feel so bad for my mom and for Diana’s four daughters; I think of how I will feel when it’s my mom, or my sister. Jesus understood this; he tried to withdraw to be by himself when he learned of his cousin John’s death. As he approached his friend Lazarus’ tomb – even knowing that he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead – Jesus wept. My hope and prayer is that during this time of worry and fear and sorrow, my cousins turn to God for comfort and for answers and receive Him in amazing new ways.

Life Stinks #3: I opened Facebook this morning and saw photos from the yearly office holiday party last night. Only, I had never received an invitation.

Revealed: I know it was purely oversight (no malice or intentional slight) so I’m happy to observe within my self no anger or blame as I might have felt years ago. On the other hand, I’m surprised at how bummed this has made me feel. I think too much pride and too little humility is being revealed in my own heart. While I’m not glad about that fact, I am happy that I very often pray that God will search me and reveal to me the things He wants to work on with me. I feel that I am seeing that prayer answered and am more than happy to turn to Him, to trust Him, and to walk with Him on the path of His choosing.

When my dad died I had just studied this small passage and I have reflected on it often in the years since. I guess this morning is one of those times when I’m able to step back and to review my progress. I’ve come a long way, thank God! But my journey will continue until the LORD calls me home.

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians, 5:16-18)

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