I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Tired. Cranky. Summer sinus cold. John Ortburg, in his book Soul Keeping, suggests thinking of something you are thankful for before you get out of bed each day. He calls this “practicing gratitude”. This particular day, I wasn’t practicing gratitude very well. I was struggling to find something to be grateful for.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
My foggy brain remembered that I had been memorizing these verses in 1 Thessalonians. Verse sixteen has got to be THE ONE scripture that is impossible to do! How can I always rejoice, pray without ever stopping and give thanks for everything – even the bad stuff? Can it be done?
Silently I climbed out of bed to dig deeper into God’s word. Settling into my favorite chair, cup of coffee in hand and favorite crocheted afghan around my legs, I began to study the scriptures.
Rejoice. To delight (charm, enchant, captivate) in God’s grace. To be captivated with God’s grace.
Always. At ALL times. Rejoice all the time. Pray all the time and don’t stop talking to God.
Give thanks. Eucharisteo, literally thankful for God’s good grace. In everything. All circumstances, good or bad.
Rejoicing, praying and giving thanks all the time is God’s will for us. His preferred will.
Pondering this information, I plucked at a loose thread on the afghan. Coming out of my reverie of rejoicing always, I noticed the beautiful stitches. They were intricately entwined. I knew if I pulled the loose piece of yard, it wouldn’t come out, because the threads were so tightly woven together.
Then I realized God’s word is like the yarn in my afghan. Interwoven. I can’t rejoice always, without praying and giving thanks. I can’t pray without ceasing unless I rejoice and am thankful in all circumstances. These three verses were knit together as tightly as my afghan.
I studied the crocheted afghan closely. It looked like it was made with one single thread of yard. Each stitch built on the single thread until a full afghan was created. One thread also holds these three verses together: In Christ Jesus. Without Christ in me, I can’t rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything.
Just as each stitch in the afghan builds on one thread, each of these scriptures builds on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ.
With the afghan wrapped around me, I felt safe and content in its warmth. We can wrap God’s word around us, feeling safe and joyful as we go about our day, rejoicing, praying and giving thanks in all our circumstances!
Grace be with you,
This post originally published on June 29, 2014