In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give thanks.  This is one of the most difficult commands of the Bible for us to follow faithfully.  It’s not so hard for us to give thanks for the good things.  But when we face problems and difficulties in life, it is difficult for us to be thankful.  The problems are hard, and we don’t want to be thankful in them.  But 1 Thessalonians 5:1 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  In everything give thanks.  This is God’s will for us.  This is what God desires for us to do.  It is difficult, but it is what God calls us to.  So when we celebrate Thanksgiving next week, we are reminded that we should give thanks in everything, both the good and the bad.

But a logical and reasonable question that we might ask is, “For what are we thankful?”  When we go through a difficulty, for what are we actually giving thanks?  We can give thanks for the way that God works through the difficulties.  We can see God’s providence, His guidance in the events around us.  We can thank God for His protection.  God does protect us through even the difficult things we face.  We can thank God for the grace, peace, and joy He gives through difficulties.  We can experience those blessings even in the midst of problems, and when we do, we should thank God for them.  We can thank God for His faithfulness.  No matter the difficulty we go through, God is faithful to us, and His promises are true.  God never changes (Malachi 3:6), and since God never changes, His Word remains the same.  What was true when He promised it many years ago is still true today, and we should thank Him that He remains faithful.  We can thank God for the way He is working in us and changing us through the difficulties.  We should want to grow in Christ and walk with Him, and often God uses the difficulties that we face to change us.  The picture is often used of trying and purifying metals.  When gold is purified, it is heated so it melts and the dross rises to the top.  That is often how God works in us.  The trials and difficulties make the dross in our lives rise to the top so it can be removed.  That is difficult, but we can be purified and changed through it, and we can be thankful for this working.  Finally, as hard as it is, we can be thankful for the difficulties themselves.  We can be thankful for the hard time that we’ve gone through, especially as God strengthens and grows us through it.  God uses those hard times in many different ways, and we can be changed greatly through them.  Because of that, it is possible to give thanks even for the difficulties themselves when we see the results that they bring.  Whether in good times or in bad, we must give thanks to God.

So when we face a difficult problem, we should give thanks.  “But I lost my job.”  In everything give thanks.  “But I’m facing a financial struggle and don’t have the money I need.”  In everything give thanks.  “But I have this conflict with a family member or a person I know.” In everything give thanks.  “But I am struggling with a major health problem. In everything give thanks.  This is not an easy command for us, but we should be thankful people.  Even in the difficulties that we face, we have much to be thankful for.  This Thanksgiving, we must remember to give thanks for everything, even the difficult things that God allows us to face.

–Pastor Tim

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