Monroe column: Rejoice even in hard times

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 1, 2011

This last couple of months have been very sad for me and many of my friends and acquaintances. It seems every time I answer the telephone someone else has died or is on the brink of death.
What do you say to those who are calling you for prayer? ěI told the Lord, every week for the last two months someone has died or is at deathís door. I am beginning to feel like what is the point of my prayer?î I pondered over this and asked the Lord, ěWhat do I tell them?”
And then I heard this answer in my spirit. In all things, give him praise and thanksgiving. Even when it does not seem the appropriate time to be praising and giving thanks, that is the most important time to be praising and thanking him, for he will deliver us through our time of need.
I was reminded of Paul and Silas in prison, bound and chained and beaten. They started singing and praising the Lord in the midst of all their trouble and what happened next? Their chains were loosed, the cell doors were thrown open and they were set free.
ěAnd when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.î (Acts 16: 23-26).
When we are going through our trials and at our lowest point, we need to rise up and give him praise and glory and thanksgiving and we will be loosed from the worry and fear that is attacking us. We will be able to rest in his peace knowing that his perfect will is being carried out. And those around us will be watching us to see how we respond to these attacks. Just as in the scriptures above, the other prisoners were watching and listening to Paul and Silas. Now I am sure that there were those who thought them crazy, but at the same time they saw first hand what praising God and giving thanks would bring. They saw these two having a great faith in a God that they could not see. They saw what real praise and worship is all about. That even in the darkest of times, we are to continually give praise and thanks to our God.
These attacks are not of God, they are from the enemy. Believe me, he is standing by as well to see how you will react. He is waiting for you to give him a foothold into the situation that he can use to destroy your faith. But when you rise up and start praising God and singing unto Him with thanksgiving, the enemy will flee. Remember he is the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, not God. God comes to give us life.
Don’t let the enemy use situations to turn your faith sour. Don’t listen to him when bad news comes and he tries to get you on his bandwagon of poor, pitiful, and why meís.
No, rise up and start praising God and giving him the glory.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 4-7).
This scripture tells us ěin everything with prayer and supplication.î Supplication means to besiege, appeal, to plead, to pray. In other words there has to be action. He tells you in this scripture not to worry but instead to turn things over to God and let his peace and understanding give you rest where your own understanding will not. And then the scripture goes on to tell us that he will guard our hearts and our minds. In other words he will give us the peace and rest that can not be found anywhere or in anyone else.
How do you find the strength to do this?
Stay in the word!