“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT).
I have noticed through Facebook that individuals have been participating in 30 Days of Thanksgiving by posting what they are thankful for each day of the month. I have also noticed how many prayer requests are for individuals who are ill, have passed away, lost jobs, homes destroyed by hurricanes or other natural disasters and so many more tragedies.
When life seems to be spiraling out of control and the trials of life seem to engulf you like rising flood waters, how can one be thankful in ‘all circumstances’ as God’s Word tells us?
I for one have been asking the same question lately. My family continues to go through trials such as health and financial issues. For some reason these two major life issues are ever present in our lives over the years. There just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
While we are going through these trials we are reminded from kind-hearted people that God is in control (1 Corinthians 10:13, Joshua 1:9); God is working everything for good (Romans 8:28); that God’s Word tells us we will have trials and sorrow but to take heart Christ came to overcome this world (John 16:33). I must confess that sometimes while I am going through trials and people quote these verses, there are times I am not always comforted, sometimes I am bitter.
As I look at the above scriptures in 1 Thessalonians, I find that our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or how we feel. All too often these three commands – be joyful, keep praying, and be thankful - goes against our natural instinct to lash out and be the exact opposite.
I have found the key point is to make a conscious decision to obey God’s Word – whether we “feel” like it or not, and in so doing we begin to see things in a new perspective. When we make a practice to obey God we will find it easier to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful.
So the practice of writing down what we are thankful for every day, we will begin to have a grateful heart and realize that there are more things in our lives to be thankful for than there are to complain about. In so doing we become a more joyful person to be around and we will find it much easier to pray for one another as well.
It may take baby steps at first to find something to be thankful for – but as my soon to be 90 year old mother says in her “Terminator” voice (movie character), “you can do it!”
I am thankful for the opportunity to be in the company of such godly women of faith through Laced With Grace. Their continued words of encourage as well as daily prayers for me and my family give me the strength to carry on through the trials of life.
What are you thankful for today?