“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
I’ve been thinking about Paul and Silas this week. Our early Monday morning men’s Bible study group (a.k.a. The Predawn Theological Society) has been going through the book of Acts and… wow… if you need an example of boldness in The Lord, go no further than Acts 16. I think of all Paul endured on his missionary travels.
And I think of the comparatively very light load I whine about.
Then my mom helped me put it all in perspective for me. She asked me, “Son, do you realize how blessed you are?” I think I do. But, really, I don’t. I’m not sure that any of us realizes just how blessed we are.
For those of you who have been reading my writing for a while, this may sound familiar to you. If so, hang in there. This is the type of subject that won’t hurt any of us to hear more than once.
How blessed are you? Well… write it down. Grab a notebook and pen and begin writing down your blessings. If you look deep enough, you will even find blessings in the hard, difficult aspects of life.
Blessing does not come from wealth. Financial prosperity comes and goes with great ease (especially the latter). Riches today are no guarantee of ease tomorrow.
True blessings come from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17, ESV). Believe it or don’t, it’s up to you. And one’s refusal to accept that fact in no way negates the truthfulness of the statement.
In every hardship, every difficulty, every pain, there is blessing. The blessing may be growth, the strengthening of your faith as you see God working in your life. It may be inspiring others who know you are struggling but see your faith is becoming ever stronger. It may be giving others hope, or developing within you a deeper sense of empathy for those who wrestle with the same giants – the same anxieties and fears and troubles and quandaries – as you.
“Your blessings far outweigh the bad stuff in life,” my mom said.
So do yours, if you’ll just stop and think about it.
So remember to rejoice, for God is great and greatly to be praised! Always be ready to pray, knowing God is always near. And cultivate an attitude of gratitude toward God, recognizing that it is only because of God that we are even alive. Do not for one minute take for granted the immeasurable love and amazing grace of The Lord!
You are loved far more than you know.