“When they removed the stone, Jesus looked upward and said, ‘God, I thank You for having heard me. I know that You always hear me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, so they also may believe.’”
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- This passage continues the story by the Gospel Writer called John about the raising of Lazarus. To fully appreciate how it applies to our lives, read it from a mystical, metaphysical perspective, rather than a literal one.
- Jesus, who represents our Christ consciousness (our anointed, most spiritually mature self), already knows that God’s ways are wondrous. So, he is grateful in advance for the best outcome, even though nothing appears to have happened yet.
- Being grateful in advance means that we don’t need to petition or beg God to do something. Rather, we appreciate that God’s grace and goodness is already present.This is also why Jesus thanks God for having heard him in the past. He knows what God already has done and will do again.
- To look upward is to lift our sights. It’s raising our consciousness so our mind focuses on divine order and outcome, rather than on a challenge.
- Gratitude is a powerful practice because, as many mental health professionals remind us, it rewires our brains and strengthens our mind-body-spirit connection.
- Gratitude also is a feeling, and our body knows when it’s real and when it’s lip service. So, even if we “fake” our gratitude at first, our willingness to transform our thoughts sparks a strong visceral belief that the best outcome is happening.
- Meister Eckhart, 13th century mystic and theologian taught: “If the only prayer you ever say is ‘Thank You,’ that would be enough.”
- As Former Editors of Daily Word Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla emphasize in The Lazarus Blueprint: Ancient Secrets for Healing and Inner Peace, expressing “gratitude in advanceis an investment of faith in the future” (p. 95). They also teach that “sincerely expressing thanks unlocks the door to what might seem impossible. Whether dealing with yourself or others, or even animals, when someone or something feels appreciated and praised, their best comes forth” (p. 92).
As you reflect on your life and circumstances, ask yourself:
- When I reflect on past situations I have overcome, how has God “heard” me?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much evidence as you can remember of God’s grace and goodness.
- When I reflect on the situation I am overcoming now, is there at least one (1) thing I am grateful for?
- Without analyzing or judging your previous choices or anyone else’s role in the situation, list, word map, or illustrate what you’re grateful for.
- When I reflect on other aspects of my life, what are at least five (5) things I am grateful for?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can.
- What are some ways I can express my appreciation and gratitude to others?
- List, word map, or illustrate who these others are.
- Then, list, word map, or illustrate at least one (1) way you’ll share your thanks.
- What are at least three (3) ways I can continue looking beyond the situation I am overcoming and give thanks for my best outcome?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can imagine.
As you work with this devotional, know that you don’t need to literally look upward to find God. God is everywhere present, all the time, with us, within us, and all around us. So, notice God in the midst of whatever is unfolding for you. Give thanks that God is already at work on your situation. Then, let your gratitude propel you ahead.
© 2022 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.