“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:18
What a difference a preposition makes! As Paul wrote to the people of Thessalonica, he encouraged them to be grateful in all things. He did not say to give thanks for all circumstances.
Sometime last year I mentioned to Patrina that any business or relationship that had a weakness saw that weakness exposed at some point in 2020. Businesses have closed, jobs have been lost and relationships have been strained time and time again.
Each one of us experiences difficult times at one time or another. Some face pain in dysfunctional families or loneliness or some other painful circumstances. They have questions of how and why as they consider the days and weeks and months and years ahead without the security.
It’s overwhelming at times, isn’t it? I remember hearing someone speak on Habakkuk’s encouraging response to life circumstances.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,Habakkuk 3:17,18
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
If you have ever read the brief book of Habakkuk, you’ve noticed the transformation in the prophet’s outlook. As we saw in yesterday’s passage, he begins with a lament for God to answer his prayers – to pay attention and act! But in the verses above, we read how Habakkuk’s outlook was transformed into one of hope and trust in God for all things.
The message for me? If the economy fails or if my health declines or if those closest to me turn away from God, I can choose to be grateful and rejoice in the LORD.
Today, let us look for how we can be grateful in our circumstances.