"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6)."
This, I have to admit, is a challenging scripture for me. It is easy to give thanks when everything is going well. Sometimes we forget to give thanks to God, but other than this, it is not a huge challenge.
This passage speaks of giving thanks as we make our requests to God. Let's see... So when I am praying that God help me to deal with my bum ankle, I am to give thanks? When I am praying that God help my loved one to be healed of cancer, I am to give thanks? When I am praying that God help us out of a financial crisis, I am to give thanks? When I am praying for our country as it slides further into godlessness, I am to give thanks?
I remember sitting at the bedside of a dear sister in the hospital who had suffered from a heart condition for years. Family members were close by, anxious and tearful. This dear sister had requested that the doctors take out all the tubes that were keeping her alive. The family resisted at first. I can remember the smile on her face. She couldn't speak due to the respirator, so she had been communicating with her eyes. In spite of everything, there was a look of peace and joy in her eyes. I asked if she could write. She nodded. I handed her a pen and a pad of paper. She wrote. "Move me to the window, and let me go." She had been in a room without a window. We made arrangements and had her moved to where the sun was shining in the window. After they took out all the tubes, she peacefully slipped away.
My mind went back to some of the conversations we had. She had a rough, rough life. In addition to her struggles raising a large family as a single parent, she had been married to an abusive husband for years, until she became fearful for the kids and left. In spite of it all, she always kept a peaceful disposition. Some of the kids had become bitter. But one of her sons and one of her daughters had learned to forgive, let go, and claim the joy of the Lord. This sister told me that she just decided to always look on the bright side. She was a big picture sort of person, and because of this, she was always able to be thankful in every situation.
So, any time I start nitpicking, when I get pessimistic, angry, depressed, or fatalistic, I need to remember the Christian's approach to life. Paul said, "..in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Not just when things are going well, but in everything. Even as I make requests to God.
So, as I pray for healing for a loved one, I thank God for being blessed by knowing her. As I pray that God ease our financial crisis, I thank God that he takes care of our actual needs. As I pray to God for our country, I thank God for the brethren and believers who are actually salt and light in the world, and ask God to use me in this way to.