“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, NIV).
Many times I do wonder about my prayer life. I wonder how many times I remember to thank God for His goodness over me, considering the uncountable number of times the Lord has shown Himself faithful in my times of distress. Prophet Habakkuk’s example is quite instructive. He was complaining about why the wicked prospered while the righteous suffered. It seemed God did not act as he had expected. Yet he concluded his prophecy with praises of God because he knew that there was a benevolent God behind the seemingly unpleasant circumstances. He would rather rejoice in the Lord even in his precarious situation. He concluded his prophecy thus: “Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV). So, I see this prophet of God who still insists on praising God even when he is reflecting on things that are not quite pleasant. I wonder why I do not praise God even more during my unpleasant experiences.
Another example is Job, who in his anguish praised God. Why? He remembered in his pains that God’s purpose is always good. Hear him, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15, NIV); “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God…” (Job19:25-26, NIV); and in Job 23:10, NIV he says “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold”.
God knows our circumstances; He knows our fears. He sees every problem we face. He sees our ups and he sees our downs. He knows our limits, and therefore knows when to intervene. Sometimes we think or wonder “If he can rescue us, why does he wait so long? Why does he sometimes let us go through so much or get in so deep before he steps in? Why does it sometimes look like he doesn’t rescue? Why does it sometimes feel like he has abandoned us?” Perhaps you’re facing an overwhelming problem right now and you are wondering why God has not shown up yet. Is it the illness of a loved one, or a longing or desire that has not been met? You have prayed, you have fasted and have come to the conclusion that God will not do this. Listen to the voice of the Lord today as it came to Abraham and Sarah, “is anything too difficult for the Lord?” With God, there is no impossibility. Have faith in God and His sovereignty. He does what He wills and does them at His own time. He has a plan and only He knows how the plan will unfold. Just have faith in Him and He will work out His plan.
My brothers and sisters, what are you passing through? Are you so sick, so poor, so sad, so weak, or so whatever? Praise the Lord anyway! He still cares for you. The psalmist boasted: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NIV). Be full of thanksgiving in all circumstances. That is God’s will for you! Remember that we serve a faithful God. He has already shown Himself faithful many times in the past. So why do we refuse to show gratitude. There are so many wonderful testimonies of His goodness and faithfulness. The Bible says “.. give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His loving kindness is everlasting” (Psalm 107:1, NIV). Even if what we are going through is painful, we must always remember His word that says “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Brethren, let us make it a point today to always be full of thanksgiving in spite of our circumstances. Know this for sure, it shall always end in praise. Amen!!!
August 29, 2021 -Pastor Simbo Odunaiya