Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

These four successive verses are closely interconnected as they stem from one another. In reality, to be always joyful, one must pray and give thanks without ceasing, in all circumstances, and anyone who does not do so quenches the Spirit. At this moment, I recall two events that left a lasting impression on me. I pray that they help you grasp the power of thanksgiving for small things, aiming to develop the third lesson:

Fidelity in small things to enter into the Joy of the Master.

When I began large public evangelistic crusades, I was certainly glad to see some sick people healed, but very sad to see many others go home without healing. The most serious cases of illness were not instantly cured, and I also noticed that older people were more often healed than young people, who, in my opinion, needed to see, speak, and walk much more than the very elderly. This saddened me greatly to the point where after the crusades, I almost sank into depression during my prayer moments.

I would say, “Lord, why did you let all these sick people go back home?” Despite my prayers, which I considered righteous, I noticed that with each crusade, I had fewer and fewer miracles, and like a vicious circle, it increased my complaints and sorrows. One day, God made me understand that I was quenching the Spirit with my complaints. If I wanted to see things change, if I wanted to see more sick people healed, I had to be grateful to God for the “small diseases” healed; I had to celebrate for the “small victories.”

Regardless of the outcome of the crusades, I had to give thanks to God in all circumstances. Thus, instead of quenching the Spirit, I would increase His power, and He would heal more sick people. So, I had to be always joyful by focusing on the “small” successes, and then I would have greater ones. Doesn’t this resemble Jesus, who, instead of complaining about the lack of bread, gave thanks and saw the bread multiply? Being grateful to God for humble beginnings is an important principle in being always joyful.

Since then, I rejoice at all times during the crusades. I leap for joy for a headache that has gone away, and after that, I see all kinds of great miracles. This is how I rekindled the Spirit, and I am even more joyful.

To enter into the Joy of Jesus (Matthew 25:21), you must be faithful in SMALL THINGS, and this type of faithfulness involves being grateful to God for these little things. Although closely linked, there is a difference between contentment (the first step of faithfulness in small things) and thanksgiving. I was content to see sick people healed; I was content for their healing, but I couldn’t say thank you to God when I saw all the unhealed sick people. My gratitude did not come out of my mouth, unlike my sadness.

To avoid falling into depression and sorrow, to avoid quenching the Spirit, focus on what is going well and be grateful to God. You will see the flame of the Holy Spirit and your joy grow.

The second story was when one of my collaborators passed away. We were so attached to him that his unexpected departure devastated us all from within. Some time before, the Spirit had led me to applaud for the life lived by a deceased person at their funeral. Today, it has practically become a tradition in Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere, but as far as I can remember, it was the first time we gave a standing ovation for a deceased person.

The Spirit led me to do the same for this servant. And as we tearfully applauded God for his life, a powerful wave of restoration filled the entire room. I know it was Divine Joy. His wife, children, and the church found the strength to move forward.

Giving thanks to God in all circumstances, especially for the small things and in difficult times, generates and develops in you Divine Joy.

Don’t just say thank you when everything is going well, but say thank you so that everything will get better.

Food for thought: Psalms 34:1-10

ACTION OF THE DAY: Decide to applaud the Lord even in difficult situations.

I read my Bible in 1 year: Exodus 1-23; Job 22:1-30; Luke 8:1-56

This text is an excerpt from the book “Le Mystère de la JOIE Divine – À son image pour dominer, Dévotions 2 Avril 2023 ” written by Mohammed SANOGO

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