1 Thessalonians 5:18 -“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” NKJV
This has been a challenging week. Getting back into the swing of teaching, add to that all of the challenges of virtual teaching, and the sum total is that I can truly say, blogging isn’t at the top of my list. Just as I was about to turn in, without a blog that I was pleased with, I remembered this post from 2018, so I am revising and reposting!
I think it is interesting to note that Paul didn’t say that we are to give thanks for everything that happens to us. Religion has taught people to 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 better than most that things could be really tough.
That’s why I believe 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 why this is happening, but I do know that I can trust you! And I’m so thankful that I can.” The word of God is filled with scriptures on the blessings and the need to give thanks.
Psalm 107:8- “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
The psalmist understood that God’s goodness is reason enough to give thanks. As a matter of fact, he went on to say that He satisfies the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with goodness. Even in a dark place, a troubled place, a place of despair, when you give Him thanks, He will satisfy the longing of your soul!
Religious people believe, that because God is sovereign, He either does these bad things or He allow these bad things to happen. I cannot get in agreement with this line of teaching. I remember when my mother died and I was a little girl. Someone approached me and told that God needed my mother more than I did. Seriously??? How can anyone form their lips to tell a little girl something like that? All that kind of talk will do is make a person hate God. Let me just assure you, those are not encouraging words!
If we will learn to trust God, then we will be able to say like David, when grief is trying to overwhelm us:
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:11-12 -NKJV
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 Satan 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. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!”
Paul wrote, “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you”. That’s it in a nutshell. God’s will for my life, for all of us, is that we learn to be a people with a grateful heart. I get that there are some things going on right now that are heartbreaking. I get that the challenges of life are difficult, that’s why they are called challenges. But God’s will for those in Christ Jesus is that we give thanks in everything!
In the midst of this pandemic, instead of whining about our limitations, we are to give thanks to God for being with us during this pandemic. It’s bad, but it could be so much worst. We give thanks because there are more people recovering than there who are dying. We give thanks because He said for us to give thanks. He desires His people to be a people with a heart of gratitude. It’s His will for us!
So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. Psalm 79:13 -NKJV
In the midst of this civil unrest, we are to be thankful! Despite the few who are looting, and the occasional violence, I’m thankful that the overall process is peaceful. I’m thankful that people of every nationality have joined together which demonstrates there is hope for us being united. In this, I can give thanks!
In everything, I endeavor to give Him thanks! Not for what is going on, but because of His never failing love towards me. I want to encourage you to try giving Him 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! He is still good! He is still amazing! He is still the Resurrection and the Life! He is still the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world! He is still God! Good times, bad times, challenging times, any time, is the right time to give thanks to God. It’s His will for you if you are in Christ Jesus! Wonderful Jesus!