In Everything Give Thanks?
When reading this instruction from the apostle Paul to the Thessalonian church, I began to really ponder on "being thankful in ALL circumstances." As much as I wanted this precept to sink down into the depths of my heart it stayed very much afloat. It just didn’t settle. For one, I’m not “there” yet. Secondly, I’m thinking, “Can this really be possible for me?’ To be thankful in ALL circumstances?
To be really honest here, when going through a difficult time or even an annoying disruption my automatic response is not to give thanks. I know that all things are possible with God in my HEAD but I had to ask myself, “ When I go through the hard and inconvenient places do I really know, trust and believe with all my HEART that God is fully trustworthy, fully present, and fully capable of working all things out for my good?” And on top of that give thanks? Whoa, after taking a genuine look at myself I conclude that I need some major ‘adjustments’ in this area.
I don’t know about you but I haven’t gotten to the place of absolute trust without worry, doubt, faith that does not fluctuate, and the added thankfulness every time a problem arises. I think for most it’s certainly not our natural inclination or first response to give thanks when going through illness, grief, divorce, financial woes, wayward children, etc.. IN and of ourselves thankfulness is not an instinctive response but IN Christ we can give thanks because if we belong to Him the end result is victory.
In this world we will have tribulation but we can be of good cheer because Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33) You may say—how is this helping me now in my discouragement, doubt, and pain? And I'm supposed to be of good cheer too? Let's take a look in the treasury of David for encouragement. David to God, “But even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You.” (Psalm 139:12) God is all -seeing, all- knowing, all-powerful, all - faithful, and His light is all-penetrating. Even in our darkest situations He is with us.
More from the heart of David, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord!”
It seems that David had been in a trial and he could've given up. Thrown in the towel. Lost heart. I've been there. But wait, there was a game changer. Catch this, He BELIEVED that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. David waited with expectancy even in his hard place. He was confident that in his present life that God would bring Him through triumphantly.
In this world suffering is certain but if we are in Christ so is our destination. Our real home is where Jesus lives and if we are mindful to keep our eyes on Him it changes our perspective. When we grasp a more eternal view it shifts our responses to life’s trials. With our eyes on the hope of glory we can be thankful in everything because we know that God works out everything for our GREATER good. Sufferings are part of THIS life. This life is fleeting. The world as we know it is a temporary address. A very tiny speck of time compared to eternity.
Furthermore, as followers of Jesus we must keep in mind where we are following Him to. We are following Jesus home and He gives us sufficient grace for the journey. We can't even imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Let your heart and mind be soothed and sustained by these words of Jesus, “Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) Pause for just a moment and think on this glorious promise. Let it sink in. No matter what situation you may be in at this very moment this is a perfect place to give thanks.
When we look at life’s problems from this vantage point it helps us to give thanks in all things while we're waiting on the Lord in our current situation and our eternal destination. Living with eternity in view gives us endurance and enthusiasm to run the race set before us. Though trials may come God promised us He'd never leave nor forsake us.
Overwhelming victory is ours in Christ Jesus. In Christ even our adversities will work out for our ultimate good. We can take comfort in knowing that just as Jesus prayed for Simon that his faith would not fail, even so, our High Priest is making intercession for us. He is preparing for us. We must be preparing for Him, remaining steadfast so that when He returns He'll find us faithful, in peace, and ready.
Come close and set your heart to hear this precious promise, “He will wipe every tear from your eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)
The trial is not the last word. The sickness is not the end. Your hope will not be disappointed. Our life here cannot compare to the eternal riches in glory. Believe like David that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living but set your hope on things eternal.
Don’t LOSE heart instead TAKE heart. The Good Shepherd can be trusted for the journey. You will have all you need. He will let you rest in green meadows and lead you beside peaceful streams. He will renew your strength and guide you along the right path. Even when you walk through the darkest valley you won't be afraid because He will be close beside you. Surely His goodness and unfailing love will pursue you all the days of your life and you will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
The Lord is our perfect faithful Shepherd and promises to guide, provide and protect us throughout our lives and lead us safely into His house forever!
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is good! What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. His faithfulness now is just a foretaste of His eternal goodness. Be greatly encouraged. Be of good cheer! The Best is yet to come!