- January 5, 2024
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – I Thessalonians 5:18
Paul’s directive to the Thessalonians (and us) couldn’t be clearer. Give thanks in every situation because it is God’s will that we do so.
Simple, clear, concise, and above all, difficult.
Very, very difficult.
It’s hard to give thanks for the things that happen in our lives for which we are not thankful. I am not thankful for the constant pain in my knee, for the weeds that grow in my lawn, for the bills in my mailbox, or for the stress I feel trying to keep up with my work. I am not thankful for a lot of the struggles that I experience in my daily life.
My guess is that you aren’t either.
It’s common sense, right? I mean, seriously, who gives thanks for fights with family members, or cars that break down? What joy can be gleaned from a sick child, a cheating spouse, or a dying parent? Nobody.
But yet, it is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything.
EVERY. SINGLE. THING!
True confession. I don’t know how to do that because I don’t think I can. I get angry. I hold grudges. I seek revenge. I am selfish, impatient, conceited, and far from thankful for the things in life that I don’t like. Sound familiar? I’m guessing it might.
So how do we even begin to address this natural human reaction to the struggles in our lives? We start with putting our trust in God. After all, if this is what He says we’re supposed to be doing, He must have a way to help us get there. This is promised to us in the words of Deuteronomy 4:29-31.
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey Him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
This reassurance helps us to know that we serve a God who is not only powerful, merciful, and loving, but also constant. Psalm 46:1 says is so well – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Because we have this assurance, we can look at the struggles and challenges of life with a new perspective.
- God is our refuge and strength. So, when things grow difficult and we find ourselves overwhelmed, we can rely upon God whose power can overcome the greatest challenges our sinful works can throw at us, and for that we can give Him thanks.
- God is a very present help in trouble. Even when we’re faced with a collection of seemingly insignificant but irritating circumstances, God is there. He gets it. He gets us. Again, we can turn to Him to give us that quick paradigm shift to change our mood and bring us to a better place, and for that we can give Him thanks.
God’s love is eternally active in our world and in our lives. It covers both the big stuff and the small stuff. It also covers the impossible, and for that we give our greatest thanks. Knowing that our sin separated us from Him, leaving us destined for an eternal death, God provided us with a plan for salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He didn’t have to do this. We haven’t earned it. We don’t deserve it. That said, it is our reality through the grace of God, and for that we also give him thanks and praise.
It is my prayer that God would grant me (and all of us) the patience and perspective I need to remember everything God has done for me in moments when I am facing a catastrophe or when I’ve stubbed my toe. Let my reactions show not only my appreciation for God’s gifts but let them serve as an example to others who see it and know that it is made possible because of the faith God has grown within me.
For that, and for all things, we can give God thanks.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
Senior Director of Operations