Are you thankful in ALL things? Do you thank God in every circumstance you may find yourself in? When your car breaks down, do you say, “Thank You, Lord?” Or when the phone rings and causes you to leave the house later than you planned, do you give thanks to God? When you plan a huge outdoor event, only to have it flooded out by rain, do you show your appreciation to the One who created the rain? Perhaps you are thinking, “How in the world could I ever be thankful in ALL things?”
As humans living in a less-than-perfect world, it is a challenge to be grateful in every situation we encounter. Still, God’s Word tells us that we should “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). Why? The Bible tells us that, too. It says, “For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). In other words, God wants us to be grateful for the life He has given us, whether we are experiencing a joyful time or a sorrowful one, an uplifting moment or a down heartening one, a relaxing day or a tiring one. Another translation says, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (The Message). Even if it may be somewhat difficult at times, God wants us to be thankful, no matter what is happening around us.
God knows our future. He knows where we will be in one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour, one minute, and even one second from this very moment in time. When your car breaks down, you should be thankful. God may be preventing you from being involved in a fatal accident. When the phone rings, God may have someone that you need to receive support from on the other end of the line. Or they may need to be encouraged by you. Of course, He could be delaying you for other reasons as well: to prevent you from falling and breaking a limb, to stop you from being in a vehicular accident, or for any number of other possible reasons. And when you plan a huge event, only to have it rained out, He may be standing right beside you. You see, He may know that a brush fire will be easier to control, or He may know that an emergency will not occur at the event, such as a child being injured, due to the postponement. God is omnipotent. He knows where you should be and when you should be there.
Some people may say, “Why does God have control over me?” He doesn’t have control over you, nor does He have the desire to control you. He gives us the choice to follow His will for our lives. For instance, you could have called a cab and been on your way, leaving your broken down car to be towed at a later time, even though you had a feeling you should stay with your car. Or you could have made the choice to not answer the phone, even though you felt led to answer it, despite the fact you were running late. And in reality, you could have found an alternate site for the outdoor event, but maybe you just didn’t feel inclined to find a second location. You see, God may not always tell us audibly what we should or should not do. But, if we pay close attention to His still, small voice, He will guide us according to His will. And if we choose to ignore His leading, we may encounter even bigger problems, causing our momentary inconveniences to pale in comparison to the permanent tragedies that may await us. If we will only let Him, God wants to help us through life’s valleys and guide us to the mountaintops.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Notice the scripture does not say to thank the Lord for everything that goes wrong, but it says that you should pray, instead of worry. Tell God about the things you need. Tell Him what needs fixing. Tell Him what is wrong in your life. You see, God already has it under control. Think of all of the times that He has brought you out of a discouraging situation, or even a dangerous one. Be grateful to Him for delivering you from these circumstances. Show your appreciation to Him for the blessings He has given you, instead of worrying about the difficulties you currently face. Once you have done that, you will have true peace. The Bible says God’s peace “exceeds anything we can understand.” Choose to be thankful, and experience God’s unfathomable peace today.
God gives us the choice to choose what we desire to do. He gives us the choice to either be grateful in all things, or to complain in all things. We can listen to His leading in all things, or ignore His leading in all things. We can love Him in all things, or hate Him in all things. The important thing to remember is that God loves you, no matter what. Whether or not you listen to Him, He loves you unconditionally. Even if you never once say, “Thank you,” Jesus loves you. He desires for you to serve Him, to be His child, and to love Him. But, He gives you the freedom to choose who you serve, to whom you belong, and who you want to love. If you choose to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will experience countless situations in which you see how the hand of God has protected you, kept you safe from harm, and provided a shelter in times of need. And it is in these moments that you will not thank Him for the minor setbacks or major changes that transpire, but you will thank Him for what He has done in these moments. You will praise Him for the peace and joy He has bestowed upon you in these times of distress. Then, as the beloved song says, you will proclaim, in ALL things, “Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me.”
In Christ’s Love,