‘Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18 TLB).
In a recent discussion of 1 Thessalonians in our Sunday school class, one of our members, referencing chapter 5, verses 16-18 made the following statement: ‘Until our family was faced with cancer, we did life as usual. I’m actually grateful, not for the cancer, but that it changed our lives.’
Life brings unexpected storms!
Pain, disappointment, heartache and other challenges in our lives are sometimes the motivating factor in seeking salvation or in our spiritual growth. Jesus reminds us in John 16:33 that ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
Unexpected crises are a part of life!
They are like storms blowing through, destroying property and lives and leaving in its aftermath a mess. I’ve read or heard more than one pastor say, ‘At this moment you are in one of three storm categories; either you just came out of one, or you are in one right now, or you are headed into one.’
In an article titled God Really Does Have a Purpose Behind your Problems, Dr Richard J Krejcir wrote, ‘God does not look on trouble as we do. Where we see stress he sees opportunities. Where we see crisis, he sees growth and betterment. God’s purpose in times of crisis and trouble is to teach his children precious lessons. They are intended to educate, and build us up. And when we learn from them and ride out these storms of life, we will see the great promise fulfilled. His glorious recompense will come to us throughout eternity.’
See opportunities beyond the problems
Dr Krejcir went on to state: ‘We need to see the joy and opportunities through times of problems. Because we will learn that there is a sweet and wonderful joy we can have here too. We do not have to wait until heaven. We can learn to make our life joy-filled by seizing the crisis and growing from it – to become the person we are capable of being for our benefit and his glory.’
We can’t hide nor escape from life’s pain, disappointment and heartache, but we can be better prepared for anything that comes our way in the future. Just like we prepare for the storms of nature, we must make a conscious decision to grow spiritually.
First, we must want to grow. It’s not enough to show up for church each Sunday morning. It’s not about doing more for God. It’s about seeking a personal relationship with him.
Attending worship services is important, but committing to reading and studying scripture – both individually and in small group studies – is a key. Sometimes, however, we lose our zeal, reaching a level of maturity and then stagnate, satisfied with our level of growth.
Living life as usual doesn’t prepare us for the storms – and they will come – it’s just a matter of when.
The challenge is – Are you living life as usual or do you seek to grow and prepare before the next storm blows through?
Carol Round, special to ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) is an author, columnist, lover of people, grandmother of five, encourager, obedient owner of a spoiled-rotten dog called Taco, and loves to hear from her readers. Links: Carol’s A Matter of Faith weekly column: http://www.carolaround.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter: /http://twitter.com/carolaround. Recommended: Carol Round’s Nana’s 3 Jars – a great children’s book on faith and generosity – Amazon link http://ow.ly/HQcua.