Recently (not for the first time) the fire alarm went off at 5am. Together with all the other residents of the building, I had to extract myself from bed, fumble around to find something to wear and walk down several flights of stairs.
As I sleepily waited outside with everyone else, I realised I had a choice. I could grumble that it was probably a false alarm and that I was unlikely to get any more sleep now, feeling sorry for myself. Or I could be thankful that it had stopped raining, thankful that there was a reliable person sorting out the problem, thankful that there was a functioning fire alarm in the building and especially thankful that it wasn’t a real fire!
Thankfulness makes us happier – it is well worth the effort to look at the positive in what could seem a negative situation. In today’s verse Paul tells us that he is thankful for people. He never stops thanking God for them. He turns his thankful attitude into prayer and asks God to bless them and to do good things for them.
I was reminded of this while I was driving the other day. The traffic was slow because of road works. I started to say “Oh Lord, this is so slow and tedious”. But then I looked more carefully and was overwhelmed with another feeling: “Oh Lord, thank you that I live in a country where they do mend the roads and tax money goes into roads. Thank you that there are skilled people who know how to do this job. Thank you that they protect the workers with a speed limit and barriers. Thank you.”
Later I went past an accident, where the police had surrounded the damaged vehicles with their own cars, lights flashing. I was on a roll now! “Thank you Lord that the police see it as their job to protect the public. Thank you that they have responded to this accident and are protecting the injured people and are also protecting the other drivers on the road with warning lights. I am so blessed to live somewhere like this.”
It really cheers you up to be thankful. No wonder the Bible tells us so often to give thanks. Here’s something you could try. Whenever something irritates you or upsets you, try asking yourself “what is the good side of this situation?” I wonder what we would discover if we did that? And what would happen if we listed ten things to be grateful for about every person around us and then prayed for them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to be grateful for the good things in my life. Please open my eyes so I see things in other people that I can thank You (and thank them) for. Help me to encourage others and to pray for them. Thank You! Amen.
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