Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. 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 4:4-7)
As great as this verse is, the back-story makes it even better. Paul wrote these words when he was under arrest in Rome. He was under arrest in their city too (Acts 16) and was praising the Lord in the middle of the night when God broke him out of jail. The ‘church’ in Philippi met in the home of the jailer who witnessed it all. Paul’s beautiful direction to them here was all the more powerful because they’d seen him live it. We, too, can “rejoice in the Lord”, when our circumstances call for anything but rejoicing. Being anxious is a terrible way to live. Paul’s antidote for anxiety is praying “with thanksgiving”. We can rejoice when things are bad, or just blah. And as we pray for them to get better, we should be thankful that we have a loving God to pray to, who has a way of turning bad and blah into the best.
Lord, I want to be a joyful, gentle, and thankful example to those who are watching me this Thanksgiving, so they can get a better idea of what you’re like. Amen.