News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

January 31, 2014

THE JOY LADY: Be joyful, pray continually, give thanks for God’s glory

FRANKTON — There’s a special framed picture in our house. Not a landscape, portrait, photo or sophisticated abstract. In fact, I was told by the artist that it’s a rainbow. Sure enough, when you stare at it with squinty eyes, you can see a rainbow emerge from the hints of orange, purple and yellow inside the brown swirls. You see, this particular work of art is a fingerpainted original done by our then-3-year-old granddaughter. I’m sure there are some who would say it’s a waste of wall space, but most of you know what I know. It’s a gorgeous work of art, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

I have saved a couple of letters from my grandmother. Grandma’s schooling stopped just shy of completing fourth grade. She didn’t use good grammar, and she didn’t know a thing about capitalization or punctuation. Her letters were terribly difficult to read, for they started with “dear Vernia” (she never learned to spell my name correctly) and ended with “love grandmaw.” In between, there was one incredibly long run-on sentence, without paragraphs, punctuation or capital letters. But those letters are full of words of love and encouragement for me, reminding me I should always smile away my pain. To me, her letters are gorgeous works of art, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them.    

While Grandma didn’t write well, she read her Bible like the dickens. She was always quoting Scriptures, rarely word-for-word, but her sentences were peppered with “The Good Book says…” Those words appear in one of her letters. “The Good Book says we should be joyful all the time, pray all the time and give thanks all the time because that is what God wants us to do.” In my mind’s eye, I can see Grandma, clad in a calico apron with huge front pockets, holding up three fingers to emphasize the three points of that Scripture.

Those short verses in 1 Thessalonians say, “Be joyful always [not only when you feel like it]; pray continually [not just before meals]; give thanks in all circumstances [give thanks ‘in,’ not ‘for,’ all circumstances], for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [Don’t run to check your translations! The words in brackets are mine!]

It’s so easy to find what is wrong with life. It’s not fair. It’s hard. It’s full of pain and confusion. People do things that are not nice. People we love die before their time.

But there are things we should remember. Be joyful and pray continually and give thanks because God said so. Remember that Isaiah 43:7 tells us God created us for His glory and 1 John 4:4 tells us “greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” Revelation 2:10 promises if we are faithful, Jesus will give us the crown of life.

Hmmm … a life of purpose, of power, of promise … a life of God’s glory and forgiveness …  a life that promises perfection is coming our way. When it comes down to it, I don’t think I would change a thing about it.

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.

 

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