Ephesians 5:15-20 – See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
God's word commands us to rejoice and give thanks for all things. Several years ago after reading 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I wrote in the margin of my Bible that, "God says to give thanks in everything, not for everything." I was relieved that the Bible didn't say that I had to be thankful for everything, because I wasn't ready to be thankful for the difficulties I had experienced. It was much later that I noticed Ephesians 5:20, which is part of today's scripture, with the words, "giving thanks always for all things." But by this time, I could look back and see how God had used those painful experiences to draw me away from trusting my feelings or myself. He patiently taught me to rely upon Him and His word. Thus I began to learn to be thankful for those hard places, and His peace replaced my fears.
God's word urges us to maintain a strong prayer life. We also know that He expects us to pray without ceasing. Jesus did. He is our example. To be honest, some days it is easier to pray with a thankful heart. At other times, it is just plain hard work. And yet, He commands us to pray. This takes faith.
Prayer: Since Your way is always best, help us to keep on learning how to pray without ceasing and to keep on praising You in and for everything. Amen.
- My Teacher
I was broken and weary and I longed for rest,
my heart heavy laden encumbered by stress;
after crushing afflictions I became sure
that now fearful and weakened, I could not endure.
So I earnestly pleaded with agonized breath,
to lay aside burdens, I would welcome "sweet death."
With love and real patience my request He denied,
as a still voice reminded — Jesus lives inside.
Knowing He'd be my strength and that he'd never depart
swiftly brought relief to my fainting heart.
But what do you think He did with me then?
He placed me right back on the same path again,
to face grievous trials that once blocked my way,
as a discipline allowed so I'd learn to obey.
And in learning to love and to trust Him I'd see
that yielding to his will was God's best for me.
- Amy Woolf Garner ©1982