I have much for which to be thankful and I’ve been thinking on that this week. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:3-6)

Today marks four years since the Lord took my dad. His last years were spent in assisted living; and his last two weeks were spent in the hospital and then transferred to a nursing facility. With all that’s going on with the elderly being quarantined in their facilities, I’ve found joy that he didn’t have to live through the inability to leave his room for dining or activities, and to be unable to have his family and friends visit. While I am sad on this day of remembrance, I am also filled with joy that we didn’t have to live through this obstacle.

There are others in my life where there are difficulties in relationship. But this Scripture gives me joy because my part is to lift up others in prayer, which is the battle. Not long ago I came across a quote: “You always grow to love the people you pray for. That’s because you develop God’s heart of love for them.”

Today for those who are difficult, I especially lift them up because I want the Lord to develop in me His heart of love for them so that I’m able to see them as He does. I can consider it all joy because I KNOW that the Lord who began a good work in them will carry it on to completion. While the enemy would have me believe that there’s no hope for relationship with those who are difficult, that’s a lie. God’s Word says that He WILL complete His work within them. I’m joyfully resting on that promise today.

Our Father, how the epistle to the church at Galatia I’m studying challenges us in these lukewarm days in which we live, in which men and women talk much about commitment but very seldom evidence it. We pray that we may be captured by these words and see once again that life is not worth living if it is not lived for Christ, that the deceitfulness of our hearts must be judged in the light of Your Word, that we not be content with mere expression but only with that which comes from the reality of Your Spirit at work in us. Produce in our lives, O great Spirit of God, that blessed fruit that glorifies the Father, and deny within us and help us to repudiate that which has been crucified and set aside in Jesus Christ, that we may receive from Him all that He has provided. Lord, give me Your eyes with which to see others, particularly those difficult people in my life. As I lift them up in prayer to You, I ask that You remind me of Your great love for them as You have for me. We ask in His name, amen.