How do you face adversity and frustrations? Do you complain or give thanks? 1 Thes. 5:18 commands – yes, commands – us, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” As a young Christian, this concept really confused me. How could I give thanks for everything?
But note that Paul doesn’t say to give thanks for everything, but rather, in everything. Yes, there is a huge difference. We may not be grateful for the thing that is happening to us, and that often makes sense. There are a lot of awful things happening in our world and our individual lives today. But when those things happen, we have a choice. We can complain and whine that God is being mean to us. Or we can assume that he is our good father, caring for us even better than the best of earthly fathers. And if we can believe that, we can give thanks in those circumstances for this care, even if we don’t like the circumstances.
How do we do that?
- We can thank him that he is carrying us in the midst of the adversity.
- We can thank him that it isn’t worse than it is. (Yep, it could always be worse).
- We can thank him for what we are learning — or are going to learn when we calm down.
- We can thank him that as others see our thankful reaction, they will be amazed at how good our God is.
- We can thank him that we are being strengthened for the next trial.
- We can thank him that we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
So take a minute right now and thank God in the middle of your circumstances. Praise him. Trust him. Then you will see much more clearly.