“If you don’t like the weather, just give it a day or two; it will change.”
I’ve heard people from Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Massachusetts say this. I always thought it ironic that those states aren’t anywhere near each other yet that phrase fits all three. Whenever a native would say those words I would think, “You haven’t lived in (fill in one of my former homes.)
The weather was relative to me until I visited my husband’s family in Southern California where the sun always seemed to shine—at least by noon, and the temperature was consistently pleasant. I started to understand why so many people live there despite the outrageous cost of living and sardine packed highways.
Vacations. They really are all they’re cracked up to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that vacations were invented to help you appreciate your own life. Yes, I did succumb to the California craze for a moment, but the lure of my own bed and my routine beckoned me home. Somehow it always does. Getting away helps me appreciate what I have. And thanksgiving is mandatory. I’ve discovered that thanksgiving brings the sun out on a cloudy day. I don’t have to live in Southern California for daily sunshine.
Thanksgiving is a supernatural remedy to the blues, but it’s more than that. Thanksgiving helps me focus on the full half of my cup rather than the empty, and sometimes it fills my cup to overflowing.
The practice of thankfulness also prepares me for the less than pleasant seasons. “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait a few days, and it will change.” Isn’t life like that? Our family has experienced easy seasons and very difficult ones—years filled with grief and strife. Our current season is rather sunny California-ish, so thanksgiving comes easy. Yet I admit that I take my “easy” for granted (if I don’t practice thankfulness or get out of my routine to view a different perspective.)
The Apostle Paul admonished the Thessalonians,
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16).
Is it possible to always be joyful…even when life is hard? Is it possible to be thankful in ALL circumstances… even the desperate ones? I’m learning that the key is not found in my own strength or goodness. No, it’s not normal for humans to be joyful or thankful when life is hard. It can only come from another source—a supernatural one.
Only the Spirit of Jesus can take me to places of joy and thanksgiving when circumstances fog my vision and life is less than pleasant. The practice of thanksgiving, even the desperate prayer to find something to be thankful for is a portal for His Holy Spirit to enter a despairing heart.
Paul continued to write,
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire: do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (5:19).
These too are keys to joy and thankfulness. Hold on to the good. When things are bad all around me, when my heart despairs with sorrow, when life is just plain and ordinary, I have to hold on to the good. God is good.
So….the weather will change. That’s a promise, even in almost perfect sunny California. But God never does. His goodness is constant. In Good circumstances. In Bad ones. He is good. When I struggle with emotions taking me down life’s pit, holding on to His good is another portal for His Holy Spirit to bring joy and peace.
What helps you find joy and thanksgiving in all circumstances? (Leave a comment!)
Let’s pray. Grab my hands.
“Dear God, you are so good. Take us to deeper revelations of your goodness so that when the clouds come and circumstances are desperate we can be filled with supernatural joy and thanksgiving only found in the Presence of your Holy Spirit. Give us thankful hearts. Grant us your Sonshine even on the rainiest emotional day. Break through our clouds. make us constant. We love you. Amen.”
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).