Daily Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16–18)

“You won’t thank me when you see where you’re sitting,” called the ticket lady, as I walked down the jet way. I had thanked her profusely when she handed me the ticket that got me off standby and headed home after several weeks away. The usual middle seat surely wasn’t cause for such ominous words.

When I saw my seat I understood. The discomforts of a middle seat paled beside the real problem: the woman in the window seat. Even in the crowded waiting area, her deep, racking cough had easily cleared a space. Now, for several hours I would be trapped just inches from a true airborne contagion, arriving home not only tired, but probably sick. It was so unbelievable, I began to laugh to myself as I stowed my stuff and sat down.

Trying hard to thank God for this seat, I began talking with the woman and discovered many common interests. It turned out to be an enjoyable flight. Oh and her cough wasn’t contagious!

Just as I had no choice but to take that seat, these verses give us no choice about what we are to do in difficult situations. When the sentences are written in this way, they are commands—nothing less than God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

Determine, with God’s help, to be joyful and thankful in a difficult situation today.

Kathy O’Neill and her husband live in Oklahoma City, where she loves teaching about Jesus with illustrations.