You’ve probably heard 1 Thessalonians 5:18 most of your life: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” And I think you’ll agree, when things are going well, that’s not a hard thing to do.
But what about when things aren’t going so well? Like right now. Dealing with stay-home-orders, social distancing and our temporary new reality is challenging. How can you give thanks for that?
I believe Dr. Tony Evans has an answer to this question. Here’s how he explains it:
God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.
So, you don’t have to be thankful for every circumstance. But you can be thankful in the circumstance – thankful that God is with you, thankful that this season will pass, thankful that you’re still standing, thankful that God loves you.
No matter what you don’t have, what’s going wrong or what’s disappointed you, as a child of God, you can walk in gratitude every day. Never forget that Jesus is walking with you right now; He may even be carrying you. It’s through Him that you can have a grateful heart no matter what’s happening to you or around you.
When you accept that truth, you’ll have the power to stand firm no matter what you are going through. The storms may come but you will not drown. The problems of life may bend you, but you will not break. You may feel as though you are in the furnace, but the fire will not consume you.
It’s not an easy thing to be thankful when going through the challenges of life. Sure, we know that it’s through times of challenges that we often get our biggest blessings. Still, while in the middle of a problem or difficult situation, it can be hard to see the good that will come on the other side.
But this is where your faith and trust in God comes into play. The Word of God says that you will have victory through Jesus Christ. Stand on His Word and let nothing move you. This is how you’ll cultivate a grateful heart – in the good times, the bad times and the in-between times.