Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.     – Thessalonians 5:18  (NIV)

 

Do you ever have those days when things are going well, life is good, and you just can’t help but give praise and be thankful?  Sometimes just seeing the beautiful day around me is enough to lift my spirits and make me want to pause and give thanks to God – especially this time of year on beautiful, crisp fall days!  But what about the other days?  What about the days when things aren’t going well? 

For many people, struggles, hurts, and difficulties can be too much.  Some are suffering from illnesses, financial uncertainty, grieiving the loss of a loved one, or trying to recover from unexpected setbacks.  Are we to give thanks in those circumstances, too?  Yes.  The verse above tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. 

That verse came to mind yesterday as I thought others who are struggling.  A dear friend’s mother is losing her long battle with cancer; someone was seriously injured logging behind my uncle’s home; friends are without jobs; a family at our local elementary lost their oldest child over the weekend AND gave birth to twins, and both parents are out of work.  Now they have two newborns to care for, will be grieving the loss of their 3rd grade daughter, and have no income at this time.  Yes, thanksgiving is to be said. 

1) In all circumstances there is reason to give thanks.  My friend’s mother is a wonderful Christian woman.  She will depart from her loved ones to be with The One who loves her the most!  And she’ll be healthy and whole.  The man who was seriously injured was able to return home with injuries much less severe than they could have been.  Those who are financially unsure at this time still have the ever faithfulness of the Lord to rely on.  The family who lost their oldest daughter?  That’s a tough one, I know.  Yet they have two beautiful babies to be thankful for, each other, and hopefully they know the Lord and will draw closer than ever to Him.

2) God does His best work in our worst circumstances.  Often God uses these circumstances to bring about good and give greater blessings.  It’s been in my greatest times of challenges and suffering that God has grown me the most and shown me beautiful blessings.  I’ve seen this to be true in other’s lives, too.  And it’s often in the worst of times that He finally becomes known to those who didn’t know Him before. 

Two of my friends love the story by Corrie ten Boom, survivor of Nazi halocost (sp?), of how she and her sister had to sleep on flea-ridden mattresses while in the concetration camp.  Corrie wanted to complain about the fleas, but her sister reminded her that she needed to give thanks in ALL circumstances.  Even the flea ridden mattresses?  Yes, even the flea-ridden mattresses.  It ended up being those flea-ridden mattresses (for which they gave thanks) that saved them from the soldiers.  You see, Corrie and her sister had sneaked their Bibles in with them.  Had they gotten caught with their Bibles, they’d have probably been killed, but the soldiers weren’t about to come near them because of the fleas.  This likely prevented other horrible situations with the soldiers, too.  Corrie eventually survived that horrible time and God was able to use her and her stories to inspire countless others!

I know Thanksgiving and the holidays will be a difficult time for many, but I truly hope and pray that all will find reason to lift their offerings of thanks and praise to the Lord for ALL circumstances, and in doing so that they will be blessed in abundance.  All praise, thanks and glory be to God! 

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