1 Thessalonians 5:18 -“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
This has been a challenging week. A week filled with sorrow and grief with two of our church family members losing a loved one suddenly. And if that wasn’t enough, my family experienced a similar situation when my nephew was suddenly taken from us because he was hit by a car. And yet, we are to give thanks!
I think it is interesting to note that Paul didn’t say that we are to give thanks for everything that happens to us. Religious people give thanks for being in all kinds of devastating situations, believing that it is God’s will for them to do so. But even common sense would say to us that when a loved one dies, only an insensitive individual will tell the grieving family that it was the will of God. When a child is born blind, or an accident leaves you maimed, or you lose your home, or your spouse walks out on you is not anything to give anyone thanks for. And Paul understood that things could be really tough.
So that’s why Paul didn’t say, “For all things give thanks,” but in all things. And that’s a huge different.
To give thanks to God the Father in all things, means to say, “Father, I don’t know the why, but I do know that I can trust you! And I’m so thankful that I can.”
You see, religious people believe that because God is sovereign He either does these bad things or allow these bad things to happen. It’s just not true!! (I will address this at another time.)
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) I like to think of it like this: If the thing going on is stealing from me, killing something in my life, or bringing destruction, then Satan is directly or indirectly involved in it. Also, we do still live in this earth realm and since he is the prince of this world, bad things do happen. And lastly, this one is tough but I have to mention it, some things happen because of the bad choices that we make. But, having said that, we have got to stop blaming God for all the bad things that happen in our lives. “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!”
So I am not thankful that my nephew’s life was cut short, but I am thankful that we had a good relationship. And I am thankful that I have fond memories of him. And I am thankful that the last time I was home I got to see him and his beautiful family. And I am thankful that I will be able to make it home to attend his funeral and to see my family. At this terrible time, in this terrible situation, I am thankful for the God of all comfort who wraps me in His arms. And I am thankful that my sister and her daughter-in-law don’t have to go through this alone.
As I turn my grateful heart to the Lord, I am able to find forgiveness for the one who hit him because I can only imagine how traumatic this situation has been even for her. Yes, we are hurting, we’re shocked, and we still can’t believe it; but she is probably traumatized knowing that she was driving the car that hit him. If I had hit someone I know that I would be devastated right about now. And as my heart hurts for my family, it hurts for her and her family. I ask God to bring comfort to us all.
So even in this, I give Him thanks! Yes, it is His will, but it is also necessary for me to do so; because only then can I find the peace that I need to continue on during the hard times that come my way! I want to encourage you to try giving thanks if you are in a difficult place right now. Not for the situation, but because you have access to an amazing God! He still heals, He still delivers, and His ear is still bent towards the righteous! And He is still the Resurrection and the Life! All those who die in the Lord, we will see them again, if we also die in Christ! Wonderful Jesus!