Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One more time: Pray, trust, obey, thank and praise

A weird pattern has emerged this month. I post something new on the blog on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, some news comes that seems to have been foreshadowed by the post.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about jobs and value, and the following day, people were laid off at work.

Last week, after reflecting on the layoffs of loyal co-workers and other events of the past week, I ended the post the same way I did the previous week:

For today, as with everything else, it comes down to this: Pray, trust, obey, thank and praise.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

And the next day, that again became a Scripture I could cling to as a guide amid frightening health news involving people I care deeply about.

There have been days since then in which expressions of joy and gratitude were a struggle. I seemed cynical at the best and bitter at the worst, with a range of emotions including sadness, frustration, anger, hope and confusion in between.

But the cloud of spiritual witnesses on earth and in heaven seems to be in full force the closer Thanksgiving gets, and I could not escape reminders that a prayer can be as simple as saying "Thank You" to God, and that in saying "thank you" in all circumstances, I am affirming my trust in God. After a day or two of half-hearted expressions of thanks, a deeper sense of gratitude and faith returned.

Among those reminders along the way:

Perhaps the most timely was Friday, Nov. 22, in Jesus Calling: "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17–18)

That same day: "God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1 amp)

From The Upper Room, Monday, Nov. 25, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12, NIV)

From Jesus Calling, Tuesday, Nov. 26: "This is the day The Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)

Jesus Calling, Monday, Nov. 25: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, quoted above, and Romans 15:13 -- "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

"Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 118:1)

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