I struggle with being thankful for all circumstances. Anyone else??
Why would God put such a decree before us??
My head knows that persevering through hardships builds faith, character, and wisdom. But my heart cries for my friend with cancer, my friend betrayed by a business associate, and family members struggling financially.
Really? How am I supposed to be thankful for disease? For betrayals? Lost wages?
All of my decades of life, I have labored through these prayers of “thanksgiving.”
Then everything changed!!
In last month’s Bible Study on 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24, I was confronted once again with that verse that I wrestle so frequently. The “give thanks in all circumstances” verse (1 Thessalonians 5:18) is nestled in the middle of that passage.
A beautiful woman of God, Mechteld, began to share about the treasure of verse 18. Inwardly, I groaned. I don’t like that verse. It grates on my “fairness” nerve. But it was as if the Lord was speaking directly to me.
With her finger pointing to the words, Mechteld read verse 18 again s l o w l y. “Give thanks in all circumstances.” She noted that the Lord does not say to thank God FOR all circumstances but to thank Him IN all circumstances. Oh my goodness!!
IN … not FOR!!
Wow! I’ve read that verse sooooo many times but apparently never paid attention to the little “in” preposition!
True: Disease and natural disaster do exist in our broken world.
True: We do make our own bad choices.
True: We do grow in our hardships.
Also true: I am NOT called to give thanks for the brokenness!
Verse 18 tells us to maintain an attitude of gratefulness even in the midst of struggle. It is surrounded by verses calling us to pray, to care for one another, and to hold on to what is good. God is truly present amidst the trials.
In these hardships, the fruit of the Spirit are demonstrated in us and in those around us. Amazing beauty exudes from the mature believer who is loving, joyful, kind and patient in the center of a storm. It is the utmost testimony to the Truth of our faith.
I am so humbled by believers who truly get this verse! It’s taken me a few decades but I finally have overcome my own misunderstanding. I’m done wrestling 1 Thes 5:18. Even I can be thankful IN all circumstances.
Question: Anyone else struggle with giving thanks?