Paul offers this word of encouragement, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7) (ESV)
Sent from Prison
It is interesting to note that this letter to the Philippians was written by Paul while he was a prisoner, facing a trial for his life. Encouraging others to rejoice in such a tragic time is remarkable. It shows the confidence Paul had in the power of the Gospel to “comfort those who have made Christ all in all.”
The phrase, “The Lord is at hand” was a unique watchword used by the early church. It was a slogan used to rally support for a cause, in time of trouble. It meant, essentially, “We are about to be delivered.” During this special month, consider the phrase, "Rejoice and be thankful." If you don't have this phrase posted in your classroom or office, I encourage you to do so.
Regardless of the season, we are in, we can rejoice and be thankful because we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28). Do you love God? Are you called? If your answer is "Yes," then release your faith in His promise of all things working together for good. Things only work together for good to those “Who love God” and those “who are being called according to His purpose.” This places your entire school in a position to receive good as you release your faith in His Word. This means that all the frustrations, troubles, and trials of life can be made to serve God’s purpose. This is why Christians can praise God in the midst of trouble. It is also why we need to be filled with thanksgiving.
Things working together for our good begins with prayer, the “outpouring of the soul; supplication, stating our desires; and thanksgiving; we must always come to God, not in a complaining spirit, but with thankfulness for present mercies.”
The result is “the peace of God.” It is a peace that comes by “putting everything in the hands of the one who is able and willing to deliver. Whenever we fully trust the Lord there is a peace that is beyond the understanding of those who have never experienced it. That peace will guard our hearts and keep our thoughts holy and pure.” (Adapted from The People’s New Testament)
As you give thanks this month, remember to thank the One who provides. Let your conversation be filled with His goodness—no matter your situation.