Rejoice Always!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It is easy to quote these words and accept them in theory, but to really live them out in practice is a different matter. How many Christians rejoice when they are diagnosed with terminal cancer? How many give thanks when they lose their job and don’t know how they will feed their children. We bemoan the faithlessness of Israel that refused to trust God in the wilderness, but we are no different.

Paul’s words take on a completely new meaning when we consider that he wrote these words to a church that was suffering intense persecution (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; 3:3-4). This intense persecution was the reason that Paul and his companions had to leave Thessalonica after just a few short weeks. Fear about how the brand new Christians were holding up under this severe persecution is the reason that Paul wrote the letter of 1 Thessalonians and the reason he sent Timothy back to visit them. The persecution was so fierce that within just a couple of months of hearing the gospel this fledgling church had already seen a number of martyrs (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

How can we “rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances” even in the worst imaginable situation? We can do this because we know that the Lord loves us; in his providence he is working everything out according to his perfect plan for his own glory and our eternal blessing.

The scriptures below are some of the most encouraging scriptures I know. If we really believe them they will change our lives. Praise the Lord! He is in control. Praise the Lord! Nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can separate us from the love of God and his glorious plan for those who love him! God is really in control, even when we are persecuted, even when we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, even when we have a terrible accident, even when we suffer lack of material things, even when our friends forsake us.

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31-32
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:18-19
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.