Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Wednesday, December 9

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

At All Times, Give Thanks

What does the word “all” actually mean? That seems like a pretty simple question. Most young children could adamantly inform you of the correct answer if you ask them how many cookies or pieces of candy they want at any given time.

So, if we absolutely know what the term means and the amount that it denotes, does that, in turn, mean that we always remember at any given point in time?

Of course not.

The Bible is quite clear: Give thanks in all circumstances. All does not mean some. All circumstances does not mean only when things are going well. It means at each and every moment in each and every season of life.

Even the best athletes lose competitions from time to time. Incredibly productive employees sometimes get laid off. The most gifted students can freeze under the pressure of an important exam. Well-behaved children will still let their parents down over something.

Every single person experiences disappointments and setbacks in their journey. Most of us have seen meaningful friendships go by the wayside or lost beloved family members after watching them suffer through terrible diseases. If you have not yet, there is a high likelihood that you will at some point in life.

How do we give thanks in those times? It’s certainly not easy, as we currently reside in a fallen creation that, due to the effect of sin, works against the desire and ability of each true believer to be perfectly Christlike. The answer is contained in God’s Word.

Over and over again, Scripture reminds us that God is sovereign. He knows all, sees all, allows all, and has a purpose behind all things that come to pass. If that is the case, our task is to place our complete trust in the process.

Any athlete should understand that idea. What’s the purpose of the physical pain and exhaustion that often follows an intense workout? Well, the temporal glory that we hope for in this world is made possible by the preparation.

Likewise, what’s the purpose of the letdowns, grief, sadness, stress, trials and struggles? If you are a born-again follower of Jesus Christ indwelling with the Holy Spirit, God is refining you into the image of His Son because you have been called according to His purpose. When that process is complete, He promises eternal glory.

So, be thankful at all times in all circumstances, resting in the assurance that there is indeed a method to the madness. Do not get bogged down by this world. Follow the One who has overcome it and give thanks that He invited you to do so.

— Nate Miller

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