Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
My personal paraphrase as I inhale the message for these verses deep into my heart is:
Be happy, be praying, be thankful, this is the will of God for us.
The instructions in this scripture passage are often met with difficulty. Life is hard sometimes and that makes it problematic to rejoice always.
We can probably all agree trials often make it hard to be thankful. This is not our natural tendency. Prayer will be our strength and lifeline in our times of worry and trials.
To be happy does not mean there is nothing to worry about. It means we choose to trust God and rest in our relationship with Him.
I do not mean to make light of the troubles we have. Not at all. But I do want to remind us of what we have as believers. We are saved! We belong to God forever! Our sins have been forgiven and paid for by the blood of Jesus. We have the assured and blessed hope of the resurrection. Our future is secure with Him.
A lady I once knew at a church many years ago used to always say that for the born again believer, “Everything else is icing on the cake!”
Our greatest gift is our salvation. Everything else, spouse, family, home, jobs, health…everything else is icing on the cake.
A few months after I first heard her say this, her husband died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She had an eight year old little boy.
Weeks after his funeral, she reminded us with tears in her eyes that we can lose loved ones, our health, our jobs, our homes, but we can’t lose our salvation and we can’t lose God’s love for us. She would still proclaim, “Everything else is icing on the cake.”
Her words then and now remind me to be happy, be praying, and be thankful.