This morning I had to inch my way downstairs to a heating pad, carefully leaning over to read my devotions. A sudden onset of severe back pain on Thursday has made for an uncomfortable few nights. Through heavy lids I settled in to read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,” Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” These words have taken me through many years, tucked away in my mind to guide my thoughts. When I first studied these words, they were confusing. How could we possibly carry this out? Here is an example of how I apply them:
* Being joyful doesn’t mean be fake happy every second. The joy comes in the relationship of Jesus walking with me. The real joy is actually peace
* Praying continually is how we keep our thoughts centered on what matters. Fleeting challenges or long-term requests. Keeping the dialogue open with God helps keep our spirits settled
* One of the best disciplines I have found is to give thanks in all circumstances. Training my eyes to recognize that in difficult times, giving thanks reminds me of my Hope. It keeps me grateful when it would be easy to fall into self-pity
As I looked out the window, I was delighted by the intense pink sunrise. I am a night owl who doesn’t relish mornings. But that back pain allowed me to appreciate the most beautiful sunrise I’ve seen in months. I took a cup of Cozy Comfort tea into my office, realizing I hadn’t been up to enjoy a cup of tea all winter. Setting it down, I noticed the flittering sparrows that keep me company each day framed behind the mug. Our surprise evening snowfall made a beautiful background to display their frenetic energy. The mug itself brought joy, reminding me of a weekend getaway years ago with my husband. I heard rustling outside the window and noticed the first Robin of the season. Right next to the first Mourning Dove, maybe one of the pair that has nested on my porch for two years. I suddenly noticed that the grass which seemed so dead yesterday has blades of green poking through the thin layer of white.
Learning to look for these things ensures that most days I am truly joyful. Today is easy and wonderful. Some days are devastating. Regardless, I try to live out this verse, for my own sanity. I thank God for His creation, for memories, even (and especially) for heating pads, for the comfort of knowing I have a precious husband and two children sleeping upstairs. They are warm, healthy, happy. This day holds countless special gifts. Even in pain, I will choose to look for the comfort. I hope you’ll join me. What brings you comfort and peace?