“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18).
I opened to the 1 Thessalonians passage one day when I was feeling very bad physically. I wondered how I was going to make it through the work day. When I first read it I was angry. I was like, God, how is this encouraging? How does this help me get through today?
I immediately flipped to the Psalms as there is always something encouraging in the Psalms. But all I could think about was that passage in 1 Thessalonians–about being joyful and thankful in all circumstances.
I was not going to do it.
But guess what I thought about all day? You got it! That passage.
So, finally by the end of the day I asked God to show me how I could be joyful and thankful when circumstances were so hard. God gave me peace in my heart and He showed me how I could be joyous in all things.
Here’s what I learned:
- My joy does not come from external circumstances. My joy comes from the Holy Spirit living in me because of Jesus’ death on the cross and the free gift of salvation.
- My joy is an external showing of Jesus’ love in my life. I can be joyful because it’s a supernatural gift from God–it doesn’t depend on how I’m feeling.
- My tough circumstances draw me closer to God.
- Going through hard times brings special blessings into my life when others help me or encourage me.
- Going through painful circumstances helps me have more sympathy for others.
I see God work in my life.
Jesus knows exactly what I’m going through (Isaiah 53).
I’m never alone, even when I feel like no one is there.
God always has the best in mind for me and He knows what it will take for me to grow spiritually.
My attitude and countenance changed that day. I know it’s hard to be thankful in all things, but if you ask God to show you how to be thankful. He will give you answers!
Prayer: Dear God, being thankful and joyful always has to be one of the hardest things to do as a chronically ill person. Father, I know You can help me do that. I want to be a shining light to those around me–no matter how I’m feeling. Amen.
About the Author:
Bridget Gazlay resides in beautiful West Michigan. She struggles with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, IBS, kidney stones, gastroparesis, and migraines. She works full time, but writes and designs fabric art on the side. Bridget’s prayer is that anyone who comes across her writing or artwork would see she allows, “God’s creation to be my inspiration.” You can reach Bridget at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her business Facebook page – Uniquely Fabric- Bridget Gazlay.
How has God helped you remain thankful during the hard times?
This is the song “Irony” with Johnny Diaz. The lyrics explain how we want all the good stuff God has to offer, but we don’t want to have to go through the process of suffering. Hoping it makes you think. -Lisa