Give Thanks

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

In everything give thanks? What about when we lose our jobs, or when we get sued for an accident, or when we are laid up with a long illness, or when a loved one dies? It is easy enough to give mental assent to this command, as long as things are going smoothly, but it becomes one of the most challenging passages in the Bible when deep adversity surrounds us.

But it is in the Bible! Furthermore, there are many other passages to the same effect. For example: “Be filled with the Spirit; . . . Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18,20). And how about this? “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

How can one “glory in tribulations”? (Romans 5:3). There is only one way, of course, and that is by faith, following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

No matter what trials we must endure, we will never have to suffer as He did when He, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Likewise, we can “reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). “Our light affliction” endures only “for a moment” in light of eternity (II Corinthians 4:17).

It is only by faith that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). But that faith is in the infinite God, who loves us with an everlasting love. Therefore, we must “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (II Corinthians 4:18), and continue to thank and praise God. HMM

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