“You may remember,” Stan commented one morning, “that one of my neighbors was in the hospital a few weeks ago.”
“I do remember,” I replied. “You told me a couple of different things that his hospital stay taught him about his faith walk.” [Note to reader: See Postings for August 3, 2021 (“You don’t get to pick and choose”) and August 6, 2021 (“The Importance of being intentional about your Faith”).]
“How’s your neighbor doing?”
“I checked on him yesterday afternoon,” Stan said. “He’s still weak, but he’s recovering. Everything seems to be on track. He said that he’s been able to spend more time than usual reading and focusing on God’s word. In fact, he said something yesterday about maybe that was another reason he has gone through all that he has.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“That maybe God wanted him to spend more time with Him and with His word,” Stan replied, “so God slowed him down. In any event, my neighbor said he is really thankful for all he has gone through with the hospital and with his recovery.”
“It’s not always easy to be thankful for everything that comes into our lives,” I commented.
“You’re right,” Stan said, “it’s not always easy to be thankful for all things, but my neighbor said that’s one of the things God has him focusing on.”
“How so?” I asked.
“He indicated he had really zeroed in on something the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Ephesus, something that showed him thankfulness in a new light, in kind of the same way that he had talked about concerning the ‘all things’ that Paul wrote about in Romans 8:28.”
“That ‘all things’ means exactly what it says,” I replied. “Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan said. “We don’t get to pick and choose which things we see as God causing to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I think it’s to be the same way with my thankfulness.”
“Thankfulness?” I replied. “How so?”
“If I take to heart what Paul wrote, which I do,” Stan said, “I am to be always thankful for all things. Always and all.”
“Always and all,” I repeated. “That’s a really high standard. How am I supposed to do that?”
“Choose, my friend,” Stan said. “And allow the Holy Spirit to ask you which part of ‘always’ and ‘all’ is so hard to understand. And then follow His lead!”
Bible verses to consider:
Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Ephesians 5:20.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for everything you bring into my life for your purposes. I confess that too often I am not always thankful for all things because I am too focused on myself and what I want apart from you. Please forgive that selfishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead in truly being thankful all of the time for everything, knowing that you do cause all things to work together for good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose. I do love you and I do sense I am called according to your purpose, so please, Father, help me to be always thankful for everything you bring into my life. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you agree that to be always thankful for all things is a very high standard? Why or why not? Whether or not you agree that it is a high standard, how are you doing with being thankful in that way? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense you are being called to deeper thankfulness to God, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want to happen? Why or why not?