Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-
When God say always does He really mean ALWAYS? Like ALL the time? No matter what? Without exception? Every time? Every circumstance? Could He possible mean THAT?
I mean- how is that even possible. Today I woke up with the remain of a migraine that will not quite go away that has interposed on my sleep for two nights. Was I supposed to joyful with THAT?
This afternoon I was ready to strangle someone I love very much. Someone I have cared and nurtured for many years. Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
When I got home a car wouldn't start and we had to jump it. Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
Then I finally got inside, out of the cold wind (was I supposed to be joyful when I was cold?) and was met at the door with a "We have something to tell you" and the look from the supervising sibling that communicated that serious parental intervention was required. Then? Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
Yes. Really! I was. Supposed to be that is. I wasn't. Joyful I mean. How could God expect me to feel joy in all these circumstances? Uh- well- I guess He didn't command me to feel anything. He really just commanded me to BE something and He was gracious enough to tell me how.
Praying continually. Being thankful. If I am supposed to be praying continually then it must mean that I am going to need a lot more of God and a lot less of me in order to be joyful.
And if I am "giving thanks in all things" I am going to be awfully busy. In fact I will have little time left over for feeling sorry for myself or feeling angry at a mistake or feeling envious of another's abundance.
So I think I better have a "do over" today- Thank you Lord for the headache: thank You that I have to slow down, and for medicine that can work, and family that cares that I am in pain. Thank you Lord for the mistake of my child: thank You for the opportunity for a lesson to be learned, and thank You for ready solutions, and thank you for the opportunity I will have to apologize when he gets home, and thank You for love that covers a multitude of sins. Thank You Lord for a car with a bad battery:
thank You for a responsible son who doesn't expect me to fix everything for him, and thank You for jumper cables, and thank You for a car at all and that it still runs after 180,000 miles. Thank You for the cold wind: I like sweaters. Thank you Lord for my young child and her sins: thank You for the chance to share how You hate lies, and thank You that You hate lies, and thank You for creative ideas, and thank You for a big sister who cares for their younger sister, and thank You that I was with her for this valuable lesson.
Thank You that I do not have to feel happy to BE joyful. Thank YOU.