“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
It’s hard to rejoice in the midst of grief. It’s hard to give thanks when you’ve just said goodbye to the one you love, and the pain digs deep in your heart. What kind of God would be so calloused as to demand rejoicing in a time of death, thanks in a time of loss?
Not my God. My God doesn’t demand thanks FOR all circumstances, but invites thanks and rejoicing IN all circumstances, things that come when we face our grief head-on and embrace it, but let His Spirit lift our eyes up beyond this moment to the light of eternity…
For most of us (myself included), it’s hard to really “get something” out of the long lists of names scattered throughout the Bible. However, with a little digging, you can find some pretty interesting things. For instance…
Matthew 1:1-11 records the genealogy of Jesus Christ. I was told that in the original Greek language in which it is written:
The total number of words is evenly divisible by 7.
The total number of letters is evenly divisible by 7.
The total number of vowels & consonants are also divisible by 7.
The number of words that begin with a vowel is divisible by 7.
The number of words that begin with a consonant is divisible by 7.
The number of words that occur more than once, divisible by 7.
The number of words occurring in more than one form, also divisible by 7.
The number of words occurring in only one form is divisible by 7.
The number of nouns shall be divisible by 7.
Only 7 words are not nouns.
The number of names is divisible by 7.
The number of male names is divisible by 7.
The number of generations is divisible by 7.
Now, I’ve not dug in to this extensively to verify everything, but think about it. If only half of the things on the list check out, that’s still pretty impressive…
Sometimes I wonder, “what does ‘standing on God’s Word’ even MEAN?”
The older I get and the more I study both Scripture and life, the more I’m discovering that the life and faith that Jesus invites us to are much more “fluid” than I grew up believing them to be.
I’m discovering that “standing on God’s Word” is less like a bridge and more like a surf board, that is, it doesn’t get me in a straight line from point A to point B, but it provides a support for wherever the tide takes me.
I’m discovering that when I really believe my GREATEST blessing is Christ Himself, then when I’m praying for specific things I’m doing it in such a way that if I get the things I want, they draw me closer to Christ, and if I don’t, then that draws me closer to Him, too. Indeed, sometimes His greatest blessing is to withhold the specific thing I’m asking/believing for because on the other side of that disappointment is the even greater treasure of intimacy with Him.
I’m discovering that sometimes His great love allows me to reap fruit of choices I’ve made, or that other people have made, so that I’ll learn to do better next time or have more grace for others when their “next time” comes around, and it’s in those very moments of struggle that I most deeply experience the simple truth that God doesn’t abandon His people, EVER.
These are things I’m discovering as the tide of my life rolls on, and I’m sure there will be plenty more twists and turns on both my journey and yours. How good is it, then, that like the men on the road to Emmaus, our Jesus will be right there with us, every step and splash of the way.