“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:20
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
One loss after another. One tragedy after another. One trial after another. One challenge after another. One hard thing after another. And so my life has seemed at times – for decades. Less than 48 hours after my latest loss, the last thing in the world I expected was what the Spirit of God declared boldly in my heart. BE THANKFUL! BE JOYFUL!
And, because He had so graciously and mercifully led me to repentance and delivered me from the self-pity in whose despicable thick, gooey, syrupy, yuck I had spent seemingly forever with the accompanying loser, self-righteous, prideful attitude of “I don’t deserve all this hard stuff”, I didn’t receive His message to me that day with the anger, bitterness, and rebellion I once would have. Clearly He had by His Spirit and through His Word over the years done a demolition on the hardness of my heart and given me a heart of flesh that instead of resisting His words to me that day hungrily, thirstily ate them up as He lay His sweet salve over my hurting heart and gently beckoned and led me to do exactly what it was I so desperately and hadn’t realized I needed to do.
BE THANKFUL! BE JOYFUL! Word for word, His Spirit spoke this into my heart: “This is a place in your walk with me that you will need to remember to be thankful because I want you to learn to rest in the storm and to be joyful in the trying of your faith and when you are thankful you are focused on praising me and realizing that everything you are walking through is nothing compared with the glory to come.”
Wow. Need I say more? Just this. I am thankful He is God, His Son died for me, for the promise of forever with Him, for His shelter through the battering of the storms around me and His love and mercy and hope and refining through the trials, for His Spirit who leads me, oh, how I could go on. So thankful I am! So joyful! For Him! For God! For Christ! For His Spirit! For His forever love!
BE THANKFUL! BE JOYFUL! He is Lord!