“ Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5 v 18 (NLT)
This verse was part of my daily readings recently and it challenged me to stop and think ‘am I thankful in all circumstances?’ I am thankful in some circumstances but usually the ones that make me feel happy or that I see as blessings. But the verse doesn’t say to be thankful in the good circumstances or the pleasant circumstances, it says all circumstances! So what are all these circumstances? Here’s a few that I came up with and I’m sure you can think of some others to add to this list:
• our home circumstances;
• our relationships within our own families and with friends;
• our work life and the responsibilities and burdens that come with that;
• our spiritual life and how we and ourselves before God and in His church;
• our health, both physical and mental;
• our leisure time and hobbies;
• our financial circumstances.
These are all things that we find ourselves in day by day and week by week. Sometimes these are very good and pleasurable and it’s easy then to be happy and thankful. But what happens when our circumstances are not going well. When our job is getting too stressful or we have been hurt in a relationship. Maybe our health is not good or we are facing financial difficulties. How do we react then? We become grumpy, irritable, short tempered, impatient, unkind, depressed and so on. We certainly don’t feel thankful! We want our circumstances to change and then we will feel better or then we will be able to give more time to someone and be more patient. Then we will feel more relaxed, less stressed and then we can be thankful. But this verse challenges us to not behave like that and to be thankful in all circumstances, in other words all the time because our circumstances are in God’s hands. This is not easy and if we’re honest, it doesn’t come naturally to us. But God knows that already and He has provided a way for us to get the help needed so that we can be thankful.
Philippians 4 v 6 says “ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds.” (NLT) and in verse 19 “God will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” So when things are not going well we are to tell God about it. He wants us to speak to Him and be honest that we are finding things hard or lonely or whatever it is that is upsetting us. God has all the resources needed to help us in our daily lives, they are glorious resources and given freely to us through Christ. Our circumstances are not a surprise to Him. When we speak to Him and thank Him for all He has done for us then we will experience God’s peace! What a wonderful promise! We will experience peace and our hearts and minds will be guarded against all damaging thoughts. Surely then from that place of peace our hearts will be at rest and we can be thankful in all circumstances.