“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).
These short verses pack quite a punch. Each command comprises a verse to itself, so it seems that St Paul, as well as the early Church Fathers who settled on this numbering system, meant for us to pay attention to each part: (1)“be joyful!” (2) “pray continually!” (3) “give thanks in all circumstances!”. Short commands that fit the description of “simple but not easy”. Once again, our Love School instructor (the Holy Spirit) means for us to practice, practice, practice.
Recently, I have had my daughter and grandchildren in my home visiting from Europe. It’s really fun and wonderful in many ways, but also extremely challenging. I’m used to lots of quiet spaces in my day now that I’m retired, but of course there are none now. I’m also used to an orderly house (not happening), and the number of grocery trips is quite staggering. Lots of visitors want to catch up with them since it’s been three years since they were Stateside, and these of course require some hospitality as well. Normal meal and sleep routines are out the window, and catering to picky eaters is stressful as well, as I’m beginning to run out of ideas…
How to manage? It seems that God brought my attention to these short, really challenging verses because these are precisely the guidance I need right now. Can I choose to be joyful? Can I pray throughout the day? Can I give thanks to God even when I’m frustrated or annoyed or feeling spent? Sure I can. I have to choose it – over and over – and God’s grace and enablement will come.
This verse seems to apply: “…God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV). Though the context of this verse is about generosity of material goods, the same thing applies to time, energy, patience, stamina, wisdom and, most of all, love. My storehouse can be empty, but God’s never is, and he delights to respond to my need.