Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Thanksgiving is upon us and already stores are putting up their Christmas decorations. It’s that glorious time of year set aside for giving lots of stuff and to stuffing ourselves a lot. And it is a time to be grateful.  Ephesians 5:20 adds, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We know God commands us to be thankful in all things, but sometimes it’s just hard, especially in hard times. Some of you have had a tough year. You’ve endured your share of criticism. Maybe you’ve lost a job. Maybe you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage. Now comes Hurricane Michael.

God has been challenging me with one verse over and over again. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Really God? In all circumstances? Back when life seemed perfect and easy, that verse was a breeze to apply. Now it feels more like a giant mountain I have to overcome every time I drive by my house or read my emails from friends and relatives, or look at the photos on Facebook of people trying to put their lives back together.  But I am reminded of Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

And let’s not miss the the four words of this verse where we are reminded that it is all “according to His purpose.” God has a purpose, and His plans to accomplish that purpose are perfect. Trusting God’s purpose, and seeking to understand that He takes all the events from our life and orchestrates good from them, leads to a different perspective on troubles. We would prefer that God follow our script, but we should be thankful that God is not going to set aside His plans for the sake of yours.

Can we thank God even when times are tough? Yes, we can. But it requires a crazy loves for Jesus, a love that says I am thankful even when life gets hard and messy.

So although it may be difficult to maintain the right attitude with the internet and cable not working and the roof leaking, it’s important to trust and thank God and have the faith that in the midst of all the wrong things, God will make it right. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. If we can’t be content with what God has given you today, we won’t be content with what God will give us tomorrow. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. What can we do this week to be more thankful, even in bad circumstances?