“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV)
When we think about being thankful, we usually think of everything good in our lives.
Puppies and pizza.
Shoes and sunshine.
Wealth and well-being.
We are thankful when everything is going right. But…there are those times when storms sweep through our lives – tearing down, turning around, and twisting up the good and the right. And when they do, problem-full makes us thank-less.
When everything is going wrong, this attitude is expected…accepted in this world as normal. However, God wants us to accept something different.
He wants us to be thankful in ALL circumstances. Circumstances including persecution. Rejection. Addiction. Depression. Sickness. Pain. Loss.
How? How is it possible to express thanksgiving when we gain nothing and loose everything?
First, we need to look at two little letters in this verse we tend to skim over…IN.
God is not asking us to give thanks FOR all the problems and pain and persecution. He is asking us to give thanks IN everything.
Because IN this present moment – yes, even if this moment is full of problems – He is with us. IN this negative circumstance, His Presence will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
The second thing God is asking us to remember is where the word “FOR” has actually been placed: “…for you…”
His Presence, always with us, is FOR us.
Evil does not come from God. He wants to bless us, not harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) Everything evil, He will turn for our good. (Romans 8:28)
He is FOR us IN everything.
Giving us wisdom. (James 1:5)
Strength. (Isaiah 41:10)
Comfort. (Psalm 147:3, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Protection. (Psalm 9:9
Be still in this moment. Trust Him in the darkness. His light will shine.
Even if it is only a glimmer, let us fix our eyes on it.
His light will grow brighter, shining into the depths of our heart, driving out all fear and sadness.
His light will grow stronger, illuminating His love for us.
Revealing His plan for us in the last part of this verse: “…in Christ…”
His greatest desire is for us to know that He is God. “It is He who made us and we are His…” (Psalm 100:3) He wants us to know His great love for us. To stand before Him and accept His precious gift for us…the gift of His beloved Son, sacrificed for our salvation. (John 3:16)
IN CHRIST, we can be thankful.
Letting Him into our hearts. Letting Him be a part of our lives. Fixing our eyes on Jesus…
Give thanks – looking to His strength. (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)
Give thanks – believing in His goodness and love. (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Give thanks – trusting He will give us the victory. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
IN ALL circumstances, “…give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
"My source of strength My source of hope Is Christ alone."