Rejoice always. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16
“I’ve been living without the use of my hands and legs for more than fifty years!” Joni Eareckson Tada recently wrote.
When she first broke her neck as a teenager, she met a guy who had been in a wheelchair for eight years—unimaginable to her at the time. And yet today this vibrant woman remains full of joy.
How has she been able to “rejoice always”?
Joni answers, “I shake my head in amazement, look back and wonder, how did I make it to this point? And how have I done it, for the most part, with a smile? It’s all because of God, His grace, and loving Christians. The grace-filled believers that God brought into my life made all the difference.”
Do you find it hard to rejoice in hard times?
In today’s verse Paul is writing to people in distress. After the Romans overtook Thessalonica, they stripped the people and the territory of everything valuable. They pillaged resources, then set into place a prohibition for trade between districts, which totally impoverished the Thessalonians.
Can you imagine how a command to “rejoice always” went over?
But Paul was able to empathize with them because he, too, had been there. “Over the course of his life, Paul is tossed into prison and brutally beaten on multiple occasions, shipwrecked, and nearly drowned. His life is marked by affliction and controversy, his body shaped by exhaustion, thirst, and hunger. Yet even in the midst of life’s heaviest blows, he still says give thanks. If Paul lives a safe, comfortable life, his words could easily be dismissed. But Paul embodied his message.” (Margaret Feinburg)
All this past summer we have been exploring how grace and gratitude invite us to trust God in all things. This concept may seem strange for some, but for those who place our faith in God, thankfulness is a powerful confession that God’s purpose is being worked out in all things.
Could radical gratitude reorient your own life toward God?
Begin not by looking at your circumstances. Look up—to God, the Giver of all good gifts.
BENEDICTION: My child, gratitude is really a lifestyle. One in which you gravitate to what has been given, rather than immediately seeing what is lacking. A lifestyle of noticing all the ordinary gifts that abound. If you can do this, then you will find yourself rejoicing, even in the tough times. And I will keep giving . . .
Every Blessing, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2022 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 16 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” , “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most,” “God’s Purpose for You,” and “The Courage to Write.” (Purchasing my books here benefits me as an Amazon associate.) She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words weekly at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Want to read all of the “Grace & Gratitude Summer Blogs”? Click HERE to read as each one goes live. These 14 weeks of blogs — adapted from Lucinda’s award-winning book “Ordinary Graces” — come out each Wednesday morning June 1st through August 31st. Thanks for reading. Click HERE to add your email to get blogs weekly in your in box.