This weekend was Resurrection weekend. A time of enormous praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude. It’s a time of joy to reflect on the enormity of the sacrifice made on the cross for you, me and the world. All over social media people flooded news feeds with various scriptures and came together as families showing appreciation for his gift and sacrifice.
In the time leading up to this week people read devotions, watched movies of the resurrection and dug into his word. It was a time of growth, intentionality and transparency. They reflected on their lives, their walk, and their witness. We spoke a little differently, acted a little differently and looked at others a little differently. In times of reflection, we allow this emotional connection to help us be more graceful, merciful and accepting. We walk in this euphoric state for a day, for a month or even for a year. Then that feeling of joy starts to dissipate, our thankfulness turns into doubt, our joy turns into sorrow and our peace turns into fear. We move into this never-ending cycle of praise and pain, calm and unrest, fire and smoke and faith and contingency.
In Thessalonians, Paul is giving advice to a community of people who had been believers for a short period of time. He congratulated them for their desire to be faithful and urges them to be steadfast in their beliefs. In verses 5: 16-18 he says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
It is so easy to have this burning desire to serve God and then allow our circumstances to push us into a state of lukewarm faith and doubt. To combat this incessant cycle we have to walk in the disposition of gratitude. Gratitude is a state of being grateful, a feeling of appreciation and satisfaction. We can see beyond circumstance, beyond emotion and beyond hurt. We can praise Him through the storms, be humble during the times of overflow and rest in the times of chaos. Continuous gratitude brings unfathomable peace, unspeakable joy, and unimaginable wisdom. It forces you to keep your heart fixed on his word and not Facebook. To keep your eyes looking up and not to the left and right. To keep my trust fixed on his promises and not my bank account. To trust his will and not my own. To continue to praise him and fill my heart with gratitude even when it makes no sense. To know he is there even when I can’t see him. To know his word never changes even though the world around me does. To know he is Lord always.