Give Thanks in Joy
Open Your Bible
Psalm 95:1-7, Luke 15:1-10, Luke 17:11-19, Colossians 1:9-14
She sits across the coffee table from a friend she hasn’t connected with in years. This friend knows the suffering, pain, and disappointment God has brought her through. The question from her friend hangs in the air between them: “How are you?”
She looks around, tilts her head, squints her eyes, and hopes uttering the words won’t break the spell. She almost whispers, “I’m good…really good.”
Has this ever been you? Have you ever found yourself in a wonderful season where it’s easy to see the gifts from God outweighing the negatives? I know I have. The heaviness of the world is still there; I have friends I’m praying for desperately, but for me and my house right now, everyday life is without major problems.
The Bible answers many of our questions when suffering leaves its mark. In our broken world, grief should be expected at some point, but what about when everything seems to be going mostly right? How do we interact with God and Scripture then?
Thankfully (pun intended), Scripture has an answer for this as well in today’s story of the ten lepers. Ten men were healed of their leprosy. Ten men were released back to society to work for wages, went home to their families and friends, and walked in the streets again. How many thanked Jesus?
I thought thankfulness would roll off of their lips easily. Wouldn’t we do anything for God if He would just answer our prayers? Then we’d have something to be grateful for. But when all is going well, it is very tempting to forget who gave us the blessing in the first place.
God is the One who gives us everything, not our human efforts (Psalm 95:3–5). When we move into a new home or a long-awaited baby is born, we can shout hallelujah! Thank you, Lord, our Creator who makes beautiful things! We don’t have to feel guilty when we experience happiness on this earth. However, we must fill the jars of our hearts with lightning bugs of joy, treasuring up gifts of his eternal faithfulness. His gifts are meant to be enjoyed; they really, truly are. But we return to the core of our joy, that lightning bug inside the jar.
What should we ultimately find joy in? Colossians doesn’t let us forget which treasures we should be storing up, “the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). All of heaven rejoices when we put our faith in the only One who can save us. Kyle Worley from the Knowing Faith podcast says it this way, “We shout truths about God in the light so we can stand on them in the dark.” Lightning bugs don’t show up as well in the light, but they can’t be missed in the dark. The greatest joy is being saved from death and darkness to eternity and light with Jesus.