“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
God’s Word commands us to give thanks in all circumstances. It’s a command, not just an encouragement. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Notice that little word “in.” We aren’t necessarily required to give thanks for all circumstances, but to give thanks in all circumstances.
I know in my life it’s really easy to be grateful and thankful for the good circumstances — the wins, the highlights, the so-called good moments of my life. I love how God reminds me to be thankful in all circumstances — which also means in the losses, the lowlights, the so-called bad moments of my life. This is how it goes for me: “Good things are happening in my life — wow, God! Thank You for being real and good in my life.” “Bad things happening — ummmmmm God, where are You and why are You allowing this to happen?”
But God never changes. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s always good. Always loving. Always forgiving. Always available. Our circumstances don’t dictate the character of God. My perception of God and who He is does not depend on my current situation or circumstance. If I’m honest, it is still a struggle to wrap my mind around that. God loves me unconditionally. He has forgiven my past, present and future sins. It is by His grace and His grace alone that I can have a relationship with Him.
I’m learning that the No. 1 contributor to spiritual growth, at least in my life, has been the pain, the hurt, the losses. These are the times that, if I’m honest with myself, I did/do question God. And I believe He’s actually OK with that. But my question, as I mature, has become more of a “what” question than a “why” question. “What are You teaching me, God, during this situation or circumstance? What lesson should I be learning?” Rather than, “Why is this happening to me, God?”
As I reflect and look back on the pain, hurt and so-called bad circumstances of my life, these were the times where I know God was molding me, changing me and transforming me to become more like Christ. These were the moments my faith increased and was strengthened, where I was learning patience, self-control and discipline, and learning how to unconditionally love and serve others. The pain taught me how to forgive and the importance of humility. The hurt taught me about priorities and the most important thing in my life.
As I’m constantly learning and connecting daily with God, my prayer is that I can always give thanks in all circumstances.
— Jim Good
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