A young Believer once asked a mature Brother in Christ for some advice for his on-going journey with God. “Keep a thankful heart and count your blessings,” was the godly instruction he received. “Stay thankful.” Scripture through Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians instructs, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. IN everything, not FOR everything, God requires us to be the gate keeper of His peace in our hearts among the trials of life. Many circumstances we find ourselves in are unpleasant, but our loving Heavenly Father requires us to trust Him to bring us through, and learn from His Holy Spirit in the experience. We can stay thankful that He promises “never to leave us” as we journey through. “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest,” Exodus 33:14. God’s “rest” is the hallmark of His presence in our lives and is independent of whatever trial we find ourselves in. God’s peace has purpose. Yes it is wonderful, but it is also a thermostat that registers when I am keeping my eyes on Him and refusing to be negatively affected by my circumstances.
A friend was having a trying day. She was a “captive audience” as a passenger in a car on a journey. Her friend, the driver, spent most of the journey complaining and grumbling about his life and the people in it. Taking a short break at the Rest Area, the sister began to reflect on her own thoughts. Feeling annoyed at the driver’s constant murmurings, she made a decision before the Lord. She exchanged her reaction to the negative complaining to thanksgiving to the Lord. She began to reflect on God’s goodness in her life, count her blessings and thank God for the help her driver friend was giving her, making her journey possible. As she climbed back into the vehicle and continued the journey to her destination, she noticed something quite profound. The atmosphere had changed! She learnt a valuable lesson: Staying thankful changes the atmosphere. A thankful heart brings the Presence of God into life’s situations.
A thankful heart brings victory according to God’s word: 2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” Let us journey on, purposing to make a divine exchange at the next set of negative circumstances we meet. “Oh happy day that fixed my choice!” was the first line of a hymn given to P. Doddridge. The hymn writer was referring to the day he received salvation, but we can make choices every day under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. When we mean business with God, He will fix my choice and seal it. He will bring the trial to test the vessel He is making. As I yield to the Indwelling Christ, He will cause me to triumph – Christ in me, the hope of glory! Beauty for ashes and joy for the journey!