"Quick! Take a photo!” I whispered loudly. And my wife humored me, and combined it with the verse, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” from I Thessalonians 5:18. The photo and the verse were perfect matches for each other on that Sunday following the morning services.
In the photo the baby is ensconced in all the bright colors of the “KidzConnect Zone” at the Brunswick United Methodist Church, soaking up the sun streaming in through the windows. We were enjoying the warmth of the sun and the baby’s company, although quite honestly, we couldn’t be sure that she was enjoying ours, since her family had stepped away for a moment.
When she realized it was just my wife and me, still she managed not to burst into tears. Instead she put on a brave face and smiled until her family came back. (And then kept on smiling too.) Her smile and her expression captured it all.
I wonder if perhaps, that is what prayer is like. Like our little friend that day, we too want to rejoice always, and we want to be brave too, even though we are not always sure of our surroundings or what the future will bring.
Like her wondering where her family was, so too sometimes we wonder and are waiting to be reassured that our heavenly Father hasn’t walked off and forgotten about us. And like her, we are taught these things when it come to prayer:
Rejoice always (Keep smiling!),
pray without ceasing (“Hello Lord - I’m right here - don’t forget about me! And don’t let me forget about you”),
Give thanks in all circumstances (even when I need to be brave);
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (Thank you Lord that you keep us close to you.)
Do not quench the Spirit. (Don’t let us give up.) (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)
God Bless and Be with you today,
p.s. Quite by “coincidence” a pastor friend shared this same Bible passage from I Thessalonians 5:16-19 when sending out yesterday’s morning blessing to the church she serves, encouraging all with these words:
“This morning's scripture reading reminds us to be grateful and to continue to pray. Also, we shouldn't get in the way of God! This likely challenges us today, but let's all try to be grateful and realize how much better we feel, how much more productive we can be, and how much more inspired we can become to reach out to others … The reading from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 challenges us today, and I challenge all of us (including myself) to find ways to rejoice always, continue to pray, and always give thanks. This is what God desires, no question, especially in times such as these.”
United Methodist Pastor, Child of God, Follower of Jesus Christ.