Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18)
Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6)
What is Paul thinking?! ‘Give thanks in all circumstances’ – he obviously has no idea what I’m going through! Pray ‘with thanksgiving’? But I’m praying precisely because there are things going on that I am not thankful about and want God to change!! How can he expect me to be thankful right now?
3 clues to being thankful always:
1. Look back. Think of some of the things you were worried about yesterday, or last year, and how things turned out OK after all. God had it in hand.
2. Look around. In the midst of your concerns, how many good things can you see? How many remarkable blessings can you list in your life right now?God has you in the palm of His hands.
3. Look forward. If we had the slightest concept of what God has in store for His faithful followers, it would just put everything in perspective, and release a torrent of thanksgiving. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. God has your future in His hands.
I have found that when I am feeling low, downcast, resentful, aggrieved, or negative in any way, then the best thing to do is to look up, and realise just how all-encompassing is God’s love. Or as Corrie ten Boom put it, ‘Keep looking down’ – keep seeing things from God’s perspective, and it all looks different!