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 ESV
When I was 17, I drowsed off behind the wheel of my parent’s car. I awoke when a driver coming in the other direction honked their horn because I had drifted into their lane. Hazy and inexperienced, I overcorrected and lost control, going over a 12-foot embankment crashing into a concrete culvert at 50 mph. Of all places, this occurred in front of our church. One of the first people on the scene was the pastor's son, who quickly called other church members. Thank God, other than a broken nose and two black eyes, I was seriously uninjured. My parent's car, though, was totaled. As I lay in the ER, I was positive my dad was going to be displeased. When dad and mom arrived, they asked how I was, told me the car was insured. The most important thing to them was that I was okay. That was the only conversation we ever had about the incident.
I had much reason to rejoice and give thanks. God had protected me in what could easily have been a far worse accident. The EMTs were there within minutes to transport me to the hospital. The ER staff were thorough in examining me and running tests. Most of all, my parents were understanding. My story isn't unique. We all have times we can think of special times when God has been with us.
Today’s verse talks about God's will for us. He desires a relationship with us, an open, on-going dialogue, in every situation. When things are going well, and in our accidents, sickness, and financial worries, God is there. Often we do not comprehend the why and how of his hand, but we rejoice in knowing he is watching out for us. Looking back on the day of my accident, I recognize not only God’s hand of safety but his presence in others. The driver that honked; the church members who prayed for me; the quick response of the EMTs; the medical staff’s care, and most of all, my loving and compassionate parents.
God, we rejoice in your love and compassion and are grateful you are with us in every situation. We look back on our lives, and we recall times when we know our deliverance came only from you. Please help us as we keep a running conversation with you throughout the day, pausing periodically to say thank you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.