Have you ever had a week that started poorly, and then went downhill from there?
The Lord knows I’ve had many of them, and this week was no exception.
Monday started with sleeping through alarms, a car that wouldn’t turn on, rushing out the door to just barely make it to work on time, and a migraine after I got off. My morning was hurried and frustrating. I think it was a sign of how some of the days to follow would work.
Honestly, the first couple hours of my Monday saw my heart sinking lower and lower and lower. They saw anxiety over finances and my vehicle, frustration and stress due to a completely screwed up schedule, and a desperate longing to have the morning start over differently. My mind was not in a great place.
Yet, even as I worried and worked my way through the start of the week, God laid verses on my heart that have both anchored and convicted me in the past weeks, months, years:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! …The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4, 5b-7)
THE LORD IS NEAR.
HAND YOUR REQUESTS AND NEEDS TO HIM.
HE GIVES PEACE.
The truth presented in this passage is so simple, yet so world shaking. Even though my Monday still sucked, I could STILL give thanks and rejoice. The Lord is NEAR to His people; how could I miss the goodness that my life holds? Even if NOTHING in my week was good except the fact that Jesus is King and I am saved and loved by him, my week would still be bursting at the seams with goodness and blessing.
I started looking for all the places I could give thanks that Monday morning. I gave thanks for the munchkins I got to work with, and the little old man at Walmart that helped me pick out jumper cables. I gave thanks for the family vehicle I was able to drive that morning, and the good news I heard from my Dad. I gave thanks for coffee and community and people who asked me how they could be praying. I gave thanks for the nap I took that made the world seem a little bit easier to handle.
God gave us the ability to give thanks because thanksgiving multiplies joy in our lives, and, when we face difficult circumstances, joy is so needed. After all, Nehemiah said to his mourning people, “ Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)
Friend, I understand if life is heavy on your shoulders and you wake up weary every morning, no matter how much sleep you get. I understand that grumbling and bitterness is natural, trust me when I say that those two things are my absolute first inclination as well. Yet, we have to learn to fight against our nature and instead, choose to rejoice and give thanks.
The joy of the Lord is our strength. Let’s fight back against dark days with delight in HIM.