"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A dear friend gave us a CD called Seeds of Purpose when our daughter was born. It takes 12 Bible verses and puts them to music in such a way that both kids and adults enjoy it. My daughter is almost two and is already singing some of the words of scripture! I love the scriptures they chose as well and I find it so encouraging. I can be in such pain and discouraged and then I turn on this CD and hear "If God is for us who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). I feel my spirits lift as I am again reminded of God's complete control over my life and the chronic pain I am going through! I highly recommend this CD (they have several other volumes as well) if you have kids and even if you don't.
The last verse on the CD is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I was listening to it the other day and was struck by both the simplicity and complexity of this verse. God's will for our lives is that we would always rejoice, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Thousands of books and sermons have been dedicated to helping people discern God's will for their life. "Should I take this job or that job, marry this person or not, move or stay where I am, go to this doctor or that doctor?" While God certainly wants us to consult His word and pray when making important decisions He has not written specifically in His word what His will is for our lives in every decision we will make. (He does promise to give us wisdom when we seek Him, James 1:5)
God does however tell us three things that are definitely in His will for our lives: to rejoice all the time, pray all the time, and give thanks all the time. It sounds simple, but how difficult it is to rejoice when the pain doesn't go away, pray instead of worrying when we have a big decision to make, and give thanks when the dog vomits on our freshly mopped floor (as mine did this week).
For those of us who struggle with chronic pain and illness, this brings great encouragement that even if we can't get off the couch we can be in the will of God by striving to rejoice, pray, and give thanks no matter how difficult the circumstances of this life may be. Life is not about what we can "do" for God, but about making much of God through our life by His grace.