1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God�s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The apostle tells us to always be joyful in all circumstances of life. For our lives are short lived and even in the difficult times we are to look for the joys that brighten our lives. We should always have times of prayer whether it be scheduled time alone with the Lord, or time spent with others in prayer, or spontaneous prayer when needs are immediately seen. In other words our attentions should always turn to God to praise Him, thank Him, and make righteous requests from Him. We make our requests known to God through supplications and in doing so we should give thanks to the One who watches over us, loves us, grants us mercy and forgiveness, provides for our needs and stands with us in times of adversity and trouble.
The funeral for Pastor Bob Russell's father was held on a cold, blustery day in Pennsylvania. The roads were too bad for cars to go to the cemetery after the service, so the funeral director told Bob he would take the body to the grave. Bob couldn't bear the thought, so he, his brother, and their sons piled into a four-wheel-drive SUV and followed the hearse to the cemetery.
In his own words, Russell says: "We plowed through ten inches of snow into the cemetery, got about 50 yards from my dad's grave�with the wind blowing about 25 miles per hour�and the six of us lugged that casket down to the gravesite. We watched the body lowered into the grave, and we turned to leave. I felt something was undone, so I said, 'I'd like for us to have a prayer.' The six of us huddled together, and I prayed, 'Lord, this is such a cold, lonely place.' And then I got too choked up to pray any more. I kept battling to get my composure, and finally I just whispered, 'But I thank you, for we know to be absent from the body is to be safe in your warm arms.'" [Bob Russell audio tape Favorite Stories; submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois]
It is hard enough to bury a loved one and even more so on a day that does not provide any comfort. But even in their moment of adversity Pastor Bob was able to gather the courage to thank God. For he knew that while his brother was no longer with them here on earth, his brother was now in the safe warm hands of The Lord. Always be joyful - Never stop praying - Be thankful in all circumstances; for that is God�s will for you in Jesus Christ.