Thankful IN All Circumstances

As I recuperate from a medical issue, I have had time to pray and meditate. When we are suffering, we pray for relief, of course. It would not be unusual to ask “why” are we suffering. Why God allows suffering has been a question asked for ages. I believe some is for the glory of God, some is from man’s own actions to himself or others (the exercise of our free will), some from our fallen state (another exercise of free will by others) and some the mechanics of nature.

In Paul’s letter to the Church at Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV, he writes, “ Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”   We are to continually appreciate what we have and be content with the love and blessings from God and those around us — that is how we can be joyful. We are to continually be in communication with God. When we pray, we are talking to God and if we are open to it, we hear from God. Even though God knows us, we are still to acknowledge that He is in our lives and that we depend upon Him.

Notice in the final part of the quote, Paul says “give thanks IN all circumstances.” He did not say “give thanks FOR all circumstances.”  There are and will be circumstances that we certainly might not be thankful for, but there are often parts of the circumstances that we can be thankful for. Although I am suffering, I am thankful: to be alive and recuperating; to have time to look inwardly; realize and accept the love, care and best wishes of those connected to me in various ways; and the chance to pray for improvement.

Paul also encourages us further in the same letter, 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NIV, to “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Life is not always easy. Everyone has trials, even those that seem to be “have it all.” Trials are vast and different, effecting each of us differently. What might not seem like a trial for some can be truly difficult for another. Our trials build character, teach lessons and offer us opportunities to prove to ourselves and others that we are strong enough to get through them, especially when we have hope and lean on God. Usually, one good thing from trials is providing us with the wisdom and experience to help others when they are facing similar circumstances.

I hope that you are well and safe. I hope that you find joy this day and all that follow. Take care.

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