“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” Philippians 4:11.
The alarm sounds early in the morning—“ding, dong.” I wake up and look out of the window, it rains outside and the sky is dark. “Oh no,” not one of those days, I think to myself. I turn around another time and put the blanket over my head. A few minutes later, I hear a gentle cry from the other room, a noise I am familiar with. It’s only 6 o’clock in the morning and I would love to sleep a bit longer, but the cry becomes progressively louder, and I know I have to get up, fast. I walk to my son’s room only to find a mess. Somehow, his diaper came off in his bed last night and now his bed and his pj’s are all soaked in pee. A glimpse on his face gives me a moment of joy when he looks me right in the eyes with his blue eyes and a big smile on his face, and says over and over again, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” I carry him out of the bed and right after I hit my toe against the door—“ouch” that hurts. I walk down the steps to a messy room wishing I had cleaned the room last night before getting into my bed. Looking out of the window again, I am reminded of the rainy weather, meaning that, most likely, we are going to spend the day indoor with two wild boys, which means a bigger mess.
Some days, the circumstances just don’t seem to match a thankful heart. There are many circumstances for us to become irritated and unthankful. These feelings are normal.
However, Paul wrote this scripture while in prison, and there is no possible way that I can even start to compare my circumstances with his, but I can learn from him. Yet he was thankful to God in the prison cell, where he had no family around, comfortable bed, and good meals; and he was being scorned at. If this apostle could do that, then we have many reasons to have thankfulness in our hearts. What is the secret to being thankful at all times? There is something I have learned, because I have struggled with this and still do. I tend to be thankful when my hormones and circumstances tend to agree with me, and as well start to complain at the slightest discomfort or irritation that can completely change my mood and state of mind. However, I try to choose to be thankful even if I don’t feel like it—in the slightest bit. One of the secrets to be thankful in all things and at all times is that we must realize that our thankfulness is not dependent on our feelings. We ought to be thankful for what God has already done for us. We are already made whole and complete in Jesus. He has already provided all our needs in Christ Jesus. Even if we lose things here on earth and we live the most miserable life possible, we are to be thankful because when we die, we are going to spend our lives with Jesus for eternity. And even here on earth, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Whether we live a life that is blessed according to the natural law, order or system of this world or live a life that is filled with struggles and difficulties, we are blessed either way if we have received Jesus Christ in our hearts. Both kinds of life are awaiting the same glorious future. Whenever my morning starts off terribly wrong, I have the choice to sit, for the rest of the day, in self-pity and bitterness about what a terribly day it is (I’ve had many of those days). Or we may decide to look at the bigger picture and choose a heart of thankfulness and start praising Jesus despite our circumstances. And I can tell you from experience, even though it’s very difficult at times, the second choice is so much more rewarding.