“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
On days like this one, I am apt to say, “What a beautiful day!” Sometimes, I say it out of immense gratitude to God. Lots of times I say it with an imperceptible flicker of vague gratitude but with a greater intent to make small talk. Not so with my “gardening neighbor.” “Thanks God, for this beautiful day!” she says.
Her grateful heart is always pointing to the Lord. Last time I gave her a ride home, she hugged me goodbye and said, “Thanks God!” Then, she thanked me, too.
Yes, sweet friend! God is the one who brings you home safely. God is the maker of every beautiful day, every intricate flower, every thoughtful friend. Thanks God, for my neighbor! Thank you that every time I’m around her, I see you.
Another friend, whom I’ve held dear since elementary school, invited me to visit her when I was sad. She cheered me up by tucking me into her marshmallow of a guest bed and praying over me. I felt like a little girl spending the night at my grandparents’ house, especially with the big-band style music (she forgot to turn it down?) playing as she prayed. My friend would pray a few sentences and pause. I would open my eyes to peek at her, and she would be swaying to the music with her eyes open, too. After humming a moment, she’d go right back to praying pure and uplifting words over me. The whole of this beautiful prayer made me smile deep within. The pauses to enjoy the music (certainly a gift from our Father!) were part of her prayer. She was praying gratitude, with eyes open wide to every wonder around her, and she—who was (and is) swimming in an ocean of grief I’ve never known—was singing joy over me.
Then there is my friend, who at the sound of every siren—instead of worrying, as has been my habit—immediately starts praying for the firefighters, police officers, and the families (as my mother-in-law says) “whose lives just changed.” Her prayers have caused me to acknowledge that although I can’t keep anyone safer by worrying, prayer is powerful. I’m working at adopting her habit: sirens are a signal to pray.
Finally, a recent friend, long deceased but still very much alive through his writings, Frank Laubach, has reminded me to seek Jesus in my thoughts as often as possible: while washing dishes, while talking to a friend, while reading a book . . . to have an ongoing conversation with Him.
What a glorious day this is—a day when the pleasant chill in the air and the warmth of the sun are see-sawing back and forth, bringing a perfect balance of physical bliss. Thanks God! Lord, I want to give you the glory for everything. Thank you for friends who reflect you; thank you for comforting the hurting; thank you for desiring to converse with me, sing over me, live in me! Amen.