In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18)
I have been pondering 1 Thessalonians 5:8 as we continue our 30 Days of Thankful. I’m struck by what seems like a double meaning. Am I to give thanks in every situation because giving thanks is the will of God? Or is God simply reminding me that every situation I encounter is His will for me at the moment?
Perhaps both meanings are true. Everything I encounter, the good times and the hard times, is God’s will for me. And in each situation, I am to give thanks, because giving thanks is always God’s will for me.
I recently walked through a difficult time with an extended family member who was critically ill. I couldn’t seem to find the words to pray…and even reading the Bible seemed a bit hollow.
But what I could do was to give thanks. To praise God in the midst of the fiery trial actually brought peace. Here’s why I could thank Him:
- He is still God and He hasn’t changed.
- He is in control, even if things look out of control.
- Only He knows what my loved one truly needs.
- He can bring comfort and peace that defy my own reasoning.
- He knows how to bring glory to His name through this situation.
- The burden is not on my shoulders, but on His.
In short, I found thanksgiving to be the most effortless prayer I could pray. And strangely, as I put the situation squarely into God’s hands, joy began to spring up inside. A peace that passes understanding. I’m beginning to have every assurance that God is at work, though I can’t tell you exactly what He’s doing. It’s no wonder that the New Testament words for joy and thanks are so intertwined. God gives us everything we need, at just the moment we need it, so that we can give thanks to Him in everything.