"And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, 'Take this, and divide it among yourselves... And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'" - Luke 22:17, 19
We are inundated with ways to find happiness. The path to "good times" is wide and well traveled by more than one can count. When any occasion comes to express gratitude most people focus in on the bounty and blessings of life. Rarely is thanksgiving given for stressful and sorrowful days.
Jesus knew the path that He was taking and the suffering that He was about to experience. The pain would be excruciating and the darkness would be overwhelming. Yet, recognizing the approaching cross, He lifted the cup and bread and gave thanks. Our Lord knew the way to the crown passed through the cross, and He was grateful for both.
What are you grateful for today my friend? Can you only find happiness in sunshine and lollipops? Or have you found joy in Jesus as you experience the "good and the bad and the ugly"? Does your faith identify with God's orchestrating every event in life for your good? Isn't that what we embrace with the words of Romans 8:28? "And we know that for those who love God ALL THINGS work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Maybe this was on Paul's mind when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."