Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It’s easy to be thankful this time of year, isn’t it? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we, along with our entire nation, will give thanks for the many blessings we have. At Christmas we will take time to give thanks to God for his gift of a Savior. All of the holidays coming in the next couple of months will bring gifts and time with family and friends, which we will also be very thankful for. It’s easy to be thankful at times like these.
But did you catch what the verse above from Thessalonians says about giving thanks? “Give thanks in all circumstances.” That not only sounds tough to do, it sounds impossible, doesn’t it? How can we give thanks in all circumstances? When my loved one is on their death bed, give thanks? When I am stuck in a wheelchair, give thanks? When I have to go to a job every day that I don’t really like, give thanks? When my neighborhood is dangerous to live in, give thanks? When I am on the brink of financial disaster, give thanks?
The answer is, “Yes!” Yes, in all circumstances, give thanks. Everything that happens in this life, even the bad stuff, happens to you to bring you closer to your God. God uses everything in this life to refine and purify your faith. He uses everything in this life to focus your thoughts and worries away from your problems and your own solutions and to look to him for strength and answers. He uses everything in this life to lead you to the cross to see his love for you on full display, that cross of Jesus where we receive true comfort true peace, and true joy.
It’s easy to give thanks when things are going well for you. It’s much harder to do in times of difficulty. But don’t forget the love that God has for you personally. Don’t forget what God has done for you in Christ. Don’t forget what he has promised you now, and eternally.
You have reason to give thanks in every circumstance of life, because your God has taken care of your eternal need, and everything in this life happens in order to get you there.
Give thanks. Not just in this coming holiday season, but in all circumstances. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.