“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know the kind where it feels like anything that could go wrong, does? We experienced a week like that this past week.
Our oven quit, both my husband and I broke a tooth, my daughter had to get a toenail removed, my van battery died and it was all piling up. I just kept seeing dollar signs that I knew we didn’t have. Late one night as I was putting my daughter to bed she was telling me how tired she was of her toe hurting, how worried she was that it was going to be ugly, and just expressing her concerns. After hearing her out I quietly said, “Oh sweetie I understand what you’re feeling, but you are so blessed. Just think about all those kids who have cancer, are born without limbs, can’t see or can’t hear, a little toe injury isn’t so bad now is it?”
As I finished talking I felt the Lord telling me the same thing, “Amanda it isn’t so bad, you are so blessed. Think about all I’ve given you, quit worrying and be thankful.”
Sometimes it’s so easy to concentrate on the tree right in front of us, we can’t see the forest. We get so focused on what is happening to us that we forget to be thankful for all we have. I even forget to pray, it’s my default to worry instead, trying to figure a way out.
As I was sitting in the dentist chair I finally stopped long enough to think about things and I just started to pray. I had a good talk with the Lord right there in that chair. I wasn’t going anywhere and really you can’t talk to anyone while they’ve got tools in your mouth. I started feeling peace I hadn’t had that week at all. When we forget to pray, we forfeit the peace that comes with releasing it all to God. I didn’t get great news from the dentist that day, as a matter of fact I had more things that needed fixed then I knew, but I did walk away knowing it was going to be okay. God had all these things handled. My perspective changed in that dentist chair.
What about you? Is life so consuming that you forget to be thankful for that things in life that are right? We have so much to be thankful for. And you know what, starting to thank God for what you do have has a way of bringing the joy that this verse talks about. I don’t think Paul meant be happy, but be joyful, there’s a big difference. We can have peace and joy in the middle of the chaos, but only if we remember to count our blessings, keep our focus on God not our problems. I just hope it doesn’t take a trip to the dentist to remind me next time!
Father, I pray that as we face the trials of life that you would remind us to trust you, to pray without ceasing and to concentrate on all the things that are right with our life. You have given us all so much. Help us to keep our eyes on you. Amen