REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS, FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
Do you think of yourself as a person with a cup overrunning with thankfulness or has your thankfulness cup run dry?
Rejoice, pray, give thanks in all things always. These things are the will of God, not for some but for all of God’s children. What if we aren’t in the rejoicing spirit preferring to live in isolation without talking to anyone including our Heavenly Father? What if giving God thanks is the last thing we want to do because something didn’t work out the way we had hoped and even prayed it would? What if the act of thankfulness feels hollow, fake, exhausting or simply impossible? You realize you should be thankful because God’s Word says so, but your lack of thankfulness makes you feel guilty, angry, depressed and even rebellious.
Each of God’s children have dry times in our life. When you stand sweating in the dry desert sands, do you intentionally begin to refresh your cup with unceasing prayer and thoughts and words of thankfulness? Maybe you were the cup overflowing with thankfulness even in the sweltering desert until someone or something kicked over your cup and completely spilled your contents onto the parched sand. The remaining residue from your once overflowing cup kept you thankful for a time but as the sun beat down on the sand it licked up even the smallest traces of thankfulness.
Is it possible that your cup, dry and cracked from life’s topples, is laying isolated in the deserted desert? An unexpected sandstorm may be filling your cup with ungratefulness. The sands of ungratefulness may be combining with the storm’s debris of anger, bitterness, depression, hopelessness, jadedness, self-imposed isolation, or even rebellion. Do you feel like giving up and allowing the sandy whirlwind to bury your cracked cup deep beneath the scorching desert sands?
Maybe your cracked cup is being filled by your anger at God and that anger is spewing forth from your crumbling cup onto others. Maybe your cup is being filled with an anger at God that is brewing as it silently destroys you from the inside out. You took the time to talk to God in earnest prayer. God heard your prayer…you believed God, even giving thanks to God for His answer but now you feel betrayed and disappointed because God did not answer your prayer the way you wanted your prayer answered.
We must each examine our cups under the bright desert skies as we choose the life and legacy of our cups. Will we give up and let the sands of ungratefulness bury us? Will we allow our cups to be filled with smoldering sand to splash on and blister the people in our lives we love the most? Will we allow our cracked cups to become frozen in the cold night season of the desert as we become detached and unapproachable; withdrawn from our long exhausting desert excursion?
We have a choice in what fills our cups even in the heat of our desert trials. Pray, even if you don’t feel like praying. Call out to Jesus and be honest with Him about the things in your heart and in your mind. If its unbelief you struggle with ask God for help to believe. If it is forgiveness you struggle with ask God to help you forgive. Jesus wants to be your rock, your place of refuge your strength, and your stronghold even in the midst of desert trials. Jesus never leaves or forsakes His children.
The Holy Spirit begins cleaning and repairing our cups as we begin to act on God’s Word. Give thanks in ALL things even if it seems impossible. Ask God for courage, for help and strength to do the things He tells you to do regardless of how big or how small. The Holy Spirit will begin to fill your cup to overflowing as you trust and surrender to Him and you will once again rejoice as you pray without ceasing while giving thanks in all things because this is God’s will for you.