1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (CEB)
16Rejoice always. 17Pray continually. 18Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Our cat, Casey, can purr very loudly, when he is inspired to, especially when it comes to food. For sixteen years, almost every time he has eaten in our presence, he purrs while he devours his food, in sincere gratitude. A person could easily become bored with eating the same meal, every morning and every evening, but not Casey. Every meal seems brand new to him, and is always received with great excitement. The sound of him crunching his food, paired with his ecstatic purring, resonates especially loudly when he has his face deep in his food bowl. It makes my husband and I smile to hear him respond with such enthusiasm to the small gift we’ve given him.
Watching (and listening) to Casey recently, I thought about how God might feel when we’re truly grateful to Him for blessings he’s given us. It must give God great pleasure when we are filled with thanksgiving for all the many gifts he offers us. I realized that it also feels good to us personally when we’re grateful and when we express the love and peace we feel to others and back to God. And though it has been especially challenging for me to be thankful when life is painful and difficult, I am inspired by Paul’s and by Jesus’ examples of gratitude in the face of suffering. Even when facing persecution from others, Jesus taught us, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12 NIV). And as I write this, Casey is purring as he lays in the sun, showing me how to be content in all circumstances.
Try writing in a “gratitude” journal, where you think of one thing every day that God has given you that you are grateful for, even if is for something that is difficult or challenging for you. You could write about when prayers have been answered, when you’ve been given guidance, when someone has been kind to you—any blessing, small or big, expected or unexpected… whatever makes you feel grateful and is clearly from God.
The author is from North Carolina.
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