1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NIV)
I received some bad news recently, followed by some more bad news, followed by a virus that left me weak and helpless. As I lay in my sick bed, I felt like the worst person who could be asked to write a devotion on thankfulness.
Then, as I continued pondering this devotion, I realized it couldn’t be better timing. Because it’s easy to talk about thankfulness when everything is going right, when life is turning out as you had hoped, when the bible verses come easy. The truth is, things had been going pretty well for me over recent times, and when things are going well, it’s easy to get complacent in our thankfulness. It’s easy to take all the blessings that we have for granted.
But 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, not just the good ones. Thankfulness finds it’s true meaning when life is challenging, when things aren’t turning out how you’d hoped they would, and when you aren’t sure of the path that lies ahead.
So I turned my mind to all the things I had to be thankful for in a week when it felt like I’d been absorbing one blow after another:
I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, even if they may not be turning out how I would have hoped; I am thankful for the amazing eco-system in my body, that is working to protect my unborn child from the virus that is making me so ill; I am thankful for friends helping with care of my two preschoolers to allow me to rest while my husband works; I am thankful that we are in a financial position that when I have to take a few days off work, it doesn’t jeopardize keeping a roof over our heads or food on the table; I am thankful that I can trust God with the path ahead, even though it’s not easy for my independent nature to let go of my plans and trust Him with my next steps.
The blessing in all of this? The blows become far less impacting when I adopt a heart of thankfulness. I’m reminded that nothing comes to me before first passing through the hand of God. I can be truly thankful in my circumstances, because, He has me in the palm of His hand.
Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (ESV)
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Discuss: In this Thanksgiving season, are we finding reasons to be truly thankful for the challenging things in our lives, not just the things that are going right?
Pray: Jesus, thank you that you are with us always. You know all of our circumstances. Nothing that is happening in our lives in a surprise to you. Please help us to be thankful in all things. To not take the good for granted and to seek you with thankful hearts even in the things that are difficult and challenging.