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

When bad things used to happen to me, my first reaction was to be mad at God. Why did He allow this terrible thing to happen to me? Why didn’t He rescue me? I accused God of abandoning me, of not loving me–or at least not loving me enough.

My second reaction was to ask the existential question, Why? Why did this happen to me? Was there something I could have done to prevent it? If I determined that there was something I could have done differently, I would then berate myself for my failure and lack of judgment.

No more. I have come to believe that God loves me exceedingly in all circumstances. I also believe that I am doing the best I can in all things, given my current knowledge and experience, and that I am learning more about life and love every day. These changes in thinking are a great relief. No more condemnation! Instead, when bad things happen, I simply accept that the event has occurred, and then turn to Jesus for help, guidance, and comfort. Every circumstance lived in Christ holds an opportunity to extend love and to experience love. He turns our mourning into dancing as He works all circumstances to our good.

During the next two months while my broken shoulder is healing, I can either complain that I can’t drive, or I can give thanks for the “together time” with my husband, children, and others as they chauffeur me from place to place. I choose to give thanks.

I can either grouse about all the medical appointments and procedures, or I can give thanks for the wisdom of the doctors and technicians–and the medical insurance to help pay the bulk of the medical expenses. Again, I choose to give thanks.

I can spend the next two months resenting the fact that I can’t run or bike or boogie board, or I can give thanks for the ways in which I CAN exercise, including stretching, belly dancing, walking, and riding the stationary bike my parents gave me. I choose to give thanks, for that is where joy is to found…and the joy of the Lord is my strength!

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