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Ephesians 5:20 – Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
I had been working at the computer all day, finishing up a writing assignment. My eyes were tired and dry, but I had an important evening appointment. Since I live in LA — Los Angeles, California, USA — there was only one way to get there: on the freeway (or the expressway, as they say back east).
Now, there are two things that freeway drivers can't abide: traffic jams and big trucks. Both slow you down, and no LA driver puts up easily with that.
But I had to get there, so I used some eyedrops and set out to brave the infamous Golden State Freeway 5. Halfway there, I realized that I'd forgotten to bring my eyedrops. Blinking and peering resolutely out of the top of my bifocals, I made it to my appointment. But then, I had to get home. My eyes continued painful and dry until just as I hit the onramp, when my vision went blurry.
In front of me was a large truck. As long as I stayed behind that truck, I could see to keep in my lane, if he didn't go too fast. And what should we encounter at that very moment but a traffic jam! All the way home, I drove slowly, staying behind one truck or another, keeping my car in line with its tail lights. When I finally turned safely onto my street, I breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer: "Lord, I have never said this before and probably never will again, but thank You for traffic jams and big trucks!"
Most of us are familiar with the many verses that tell us to give thanks, but we're not sure that God really means it. Always giving thanks for everything? Really? Even amid things that bring us pain and frustration? Yes. God wants us to be thankful through trials, big and small, to teach us patience, to stop us grumbling, and even to keep us safe on the freeway. When we give thanks, we show how much we trust Him.
So, keep in mind today that God may be using the very circumstances that annoy you to do you good. And give thanks!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we give thinks for the things that frustrate us, for the circumstances that slow us down, and for the people who try our patience. We thank You for the growth and the good that You will bring from our trials if we do not lose heart. In the name of Jesus, we thankfully pray. Amen.