Many of the following thoughts may seem strange, maybe unrealistic to apply. The more I look into it, the more I see quite the opposite. These things are actually the very best tools to take you through life in the most amazing way, no matter what the circumstances.
“I have spent a lot of time wondering what God’s will for my life is. Am I using my time here on earth the way that He had planned for me? Is the work that I do in line with His will or is it leading to something more, something maybe more spiritual, more purposeful, eternal type work.”
Thanks to Jim Kapteyn for this guest post. His wife, Kathy is facing the effects of cancer and Jim’s business has been hit hard by the recession in Alberta. The Kapteyns have been a part of the North Pointe community for nine years.
I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I love it when things get simplified like this:
RPG – Rejoice, Pray, Give thanks.
Rejoice always. Seriously!? Always?! This is the one I’m trying to wrap my head around and apply. I’m not sure what comes to mind when you picture someone rejoicing, but it goes way beyond smiling or happy. It is exuberant, deep, joy, directed to the Lord.
This is very counter-intuitive to how a person feels as their life collapses around them. So, what does God mean by this? He is not giving this as a suggestion, He is saying, “Rejoice always.” Period. How?
Our tendency as humans in a storm is to focus on the storm. We can’t imagine being all excited and rejoicing when our lives are lost, relationships are destroyed, health is gone, your home is in jeopardy…. But that isn’t what God asks of us. We don’t have to be thankful for the trials, but be thankful for God who is with us in the trials.
I don’t rejoice that my wife has cancer. I rejoice that I have a loving, caring Heavenly Father who will walk with me each step of the way. He will give you strength to do what you never thought you could. God is not happy she has cancer either. He is the ultimate Father, He hurts when His children hurt. We can rejoice in His love, His faithfulness, His presence.
God wouldn’t tell us to rejoice always, unless He knew it was possible to do so. God has your back. God will not leave you. God hurts when you hurt. God loves you unconditionally. God has done great things for you in the past, so, rejoice!
This is more than just before a hamburger, or as you go to sleep. Continually. Constant communication.
I believe that this is more on the forefront of our minds during a storm. We need Him, we need intervention, so we cry out for help. The thing is, God doesn’t say here to pray continually when you are in need, He says pray continually. That means when all is well in our little world and things are going our way – pray continually.
Perhaps this instruction is more challenging in the good times. God is quickly put on the back burner when relationships are thriving, money is rolling in, we are healthy – what do we need God for?
Maybe its never our intention to treat God as a go-to-Being for our neediest times, but look at our actions. Does my prayer and devotional life increase dramatically when I need something?
Created For a Reason
God created us for one reason. He wanted a relationship with us. How do you feel about a person who never spends time with you, never shares their life with you, never seeks to get to know you, but you can be sure, in their time of need, you are the first person they come to, asking for help, maybe even demanding your help.
This strikes a chord with me. Have I been that guy? Does God see me running to Him once again, a big mess on my hands, begging Him to fix it all? And please hurry!? My heart hurts right now. Maybe His does too.
Where was I when all was well. How much of my time was spent growing my relationship with my greatest ally. In my immaturity, did I really treat God as Santa Claus? A relationship based on bailing me out and giving me great big gifts?
He wants us to focus on Him in our storms, but He also asks us to be in constant communication with Him. Constant. Good and bad times. Because THAT is our very reason for existence. Intimate relationship with Him. And that only happens with time and effort.
Give thanks in all circumstances. We stumble easily on this one. When we are in a storm, the last thing that comes to mind is thankfulness. But I need to recognize what this is saying. It says be thankful IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances.
God is not asking me to be thankful that my wife has in-operable but possibly treatable cancer. He does not expect me to hit my knees and thank Him for the coming months of harsh treatments and fear of losing her. So, what does He mean?
God asks me to know Him. God asks me to trust Him. God asks me to focus on Him, God asks me to remember what He’s done for us in the past. God asks me to present my requests to Him. God promises me that He will not leave us at this time. He will give us strength, and peace.
Things To Be Grateful For
Give thanks IN ALL circumstances. I need to focus on the things that I can be thankful for. In these difficult circumstances, I can thank Him that He will be with us. He is able to heal her. God will give us strength.
God gave us the best specialists, the most caring staff, the best cancer clinic available, the blessing of being able to stay at home, enough finances to not worry, a safe vehicle to transport a very sick lady every day, a seasonal business that was off during treatments, prayers from all over…. There was so much to be thankful for IN that difficult time. That is what God is asking of us.
Anyone can panic, doubt, fear, get angry, grow bitter, lose hope. But it is a real testimony when you can trust, love, stay calm, forgive, be thankful, rejoice, do not fear, do not be anxious, and focus on your greatest ally, your Loving, Caring, Ever Present, Heavenly Father.
Jim’s company is Rockwater Landscapes.
APPLICATION: What do you think of Jim’s post? Please leave a comment for him below and pray for Kathy. Thank you.
I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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Beautifully said and I might say with the strength of God.
God does love His children unconditionally.
God does hurt when His children hurt.
God will never forsake us or leave us begging for bread.(I have lived that many times in 76 years)
No one could ever love us as much as God loves us.
God does hear us when we call Him.
The one strong thought I had reading this story is this:
God’s said ” Love one another as I HAVE LOVED YOU” John 13:34,35.
If we remembered that word from God’s precious Holy Word, we would be there to help others and with God’s strength.
May God bless Jim Kapteyn and his family and not with hold any good thing according to His riches in glory.
Help us Lord, to do your will according to Your Word.
Thank you Pastor Bob for the reminder of where our strength lies
in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Glad you enjoyed Jim’s insights. That’s why he shared them and now he can share in the benefit they are to you.
I just copied the last paragraph into my drive for school. It’s going on my classroom door in September.
Thank you for sharing your story. Lamentations 3:22,23 says –
His compassions never fail, they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.