Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This directive from the Apostle Paul to the churches in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 could not be more clearly stated. If I want to be in the will of God, doing the will of God, I must be thankful without regard to the circumstances.
There are many reasons given in Scripture why we humans should give thanks to our God. He is good, His love is steadfast, and every good thing we have and experience is freely given by His gracious hand.
It’s a tall order to be thankful in “all circumstances”. Many of my friends find themselves in horrible circumstances, most through no fault of their own. And the encouraging, spontaneous response from their lips is that despite their awful state of being, giving thanks to God is a natural response.
It is from those I know and love who are in such dire circumstances that I draw strength and am challenged to be a better man and disciple of Jesus.
Earlier this week my doctor informed me that I have cancer. I have a large volume of “low grade” cancer in my prostate. Further tests will find if the cancer cells have spread outside of the prostate. So, like tens of millions of others, soon I’ll begin the unpleasant fight to beat this ugly condition.
Today is Thanksgiving day and I have so much to be thankful for. Later today Carol and I will share a meal and some precious time with our daughter Kelly, and two of our grandsons. The past year has not been kind to them in many ways, but you know what? We will be laughing, joy filled, and thankful.
The beautiful and well known passage in Philippians 4 is a road map to peace in times of trouble, calm in the storms of life, and hope when circumstances offer none.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
It doesn’t make sense to not worry when times are hard. but if we who love the Lord will keep going to God with our problems, asking Him for help, rejoicing and giving thanks, God’s blessed peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The reason you see smiles and joy in the faces of many people who find themselves in the worst of circumstances is that something supernatural has happened in their lives. The have been given God’s peace. I too know that peace, not even a hint of fear about the present or the future because of the peace of God that I have within.
Be thankful. It’s good medicine.