THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
If we were all honest with ourselves the word “all” in that verse we would admit that we don’t quite agree with what it says. Most of us can be thankful for lots of things, and at lots of times, especially those good things and in those good times. But, when you put that “all” in that statement that changes everything. In "all" circumstances? That can be tough and seemingly impossible.
Along comes the time you are suffering with an illness. You have been defeated or were unsuccessful in a project or goal you were trying to reach. Something extremely important to your life has failed to materialize.
You are experiencing a financial loss – lost your job or having to take a pay cut.
And then, a loved one leaves this world too soon and you grieve that loss. How could God take this one from me?
Or, when you've been praying for your prodigal son or daughter to come to their senses and come home, repentant and ready to make positive changes in their life.
In all these situations it seems that your prayers are left unheard and unanswered. Discouragement, disillusionment, and unbelief begin to set into our minds. We feel overwhelmed, and that we are fighting a losing battle.
You can’t see your way clear to any solutions. People are cruel. Life seems unfair. Satan takes his opportunity to whisper in your ear to give up – especially give up on God. What a list of “things” that can drag us down. These things will cause us to believe that we have nothing whatsoever to be grateful for.
But here is where everything can change. First, remember that God’s Word never changes. We will always find, in His Word, the answer to fit our circumstances. His Truth and His Faithfulness will always be higher than our circumstances. Sometimes we really have to get into the Word to find those answers, but they are always there.
Notice this: Paul does not say give thanks "for it" (the circumstances), but he says "in it all," give thanks.
It is because of the hard times and the victories over the hard times that god is building more deeply into our lives and our character. Without the hard times we would remain weak in our devotion to Him and weak in our relationships with others. We would be without a witness for who God is and what He does for us as He guides us in our individual lives
Enduring the hard times and coming out on the other side able to be thankful to God for His involvement in that hard time causes us to gain strength. We are gaining perseverance. We are being reminded that true joy is never based on how we feel or on what is going on in our life situations.
Hear how James encourages us in this: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” --- James 1:2-4
We are understanding that God's ways are bigger than ours. His thoughts are higher than ours. And, we can be assured that He holds us in His hands.
And He is with us even in the darkest of days. Always.
No matter what you might be facing, the good news is this: He has given us this day, just today. And because we are still here, living and breathing, we must make sure that with our every breath, and with our every thought, we are thanking Him, praising Him and bestowing honor upon Him.
If you know nothing else in this life, be assured that you never have to fight the battles alone. Stay strong. You have choices. Choose joy. Choose to be grateful in it "all." God is working things out for good. He hears our prayers. He sees all. He knows all. He has purpose for our pain, and brings hope for our tomorrows.
Be thankful in all circumstances. Take comfort in the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 100:3-5:
3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Gary K Fair