“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
It’s been a big week for our nation, hasn’t it? Despite which candidate you voted for in the presidential election, there is one thing we can all agree on... we are living in a divided country. It is almost as if we are split right down the middle. Times are changing, politics is changing, people are changing, and morality in our country is changing. While this has been happening since that first bite of the forbidden fruit, it seems to be progressing more quickly now. With technology we see these changes real-time... and it is unsettling and scary.
As journeymen on this earth, the moral decay should cause Christ followers to long even more to return to our True Home. To be with Jesus means to be free from this fallen world, and from our sinful flesh. And yet, Christ tarries. No one is more fed up with the hypocrisy, greed, manipulation and injustice in the world than God Himself. But in His kindness, He waits for men to repent of their sins and bow their lives to His lordship.
So, as His Body, what are we to do as we wait? How do we handle the frustration, despair, and even fear we have about the land where we sojourn? The answer almost seems laughable... ridiculous, even. God wants us to rejoice, pray continually, and thank Him. What good will that do? It will please the heart of God; and that is all we need to know. We rejoice in His character. He is sovereign and good–all the time. He won’t leave injustice unpunished and He will avenge the wrong done to His people, even if He seems silent now. We thank Him for saving us, and for His patience with those still rebelling against Him. We thank Him for all good gifts He gives us daily. And most importantly, we pray continually.
What exactly does it mean to pray continually? It’s not so much a constant conscious communication with God, but an abiding dependence on Him. It is praying often and consistently in this dependence on His Spirit. And it means never giving up, even when we may not see an immediate answer, or understand how God is working. We persevere in prayer by faith, believing that God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Often times, we do everything but these three things. We complain, debate, volunteer, give, research, and even vote. But, do we pray? Do we rejoice and thank God? Are we searching for solutions in man, or in the only One who has the power to truly change our hearts, and our nation?
Sovereign God, You are the ruler over all creation. At Your voice all things came into being. Please forgive me for looking in other places for answers, comfort and hope. I know my deepest needs can only be met in You, by You, and through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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