“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When is it easiest to be thankful? When things are going good, right? While it might be easier to praise God when you are most happy and comfortable, it is just as important, if not more important, to thank Him in the midst of trials.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. This can be hard to do, especially when things aren’t going well. So why do we have to give thanks? Why can’t we give in to cynicism and thanklessness? Because God calls us to a life of continual thankfulness. It is God’s will that we give thanks.
This is not to say we need to be always smiling. Sometimes things in life are bad and we should mourn or be upset, but it is in these moments that God asks us to thank Him anyway.
The trials in our lives are not pointless. God has a purpose for everything, even the bad. We might not be able to see the good, but God can see the whole picture and we can gain hope in knowing that our suffering is not in vain, but rather, part of God’s greater purpose.
Furthermore, in Colossians 3:17 it says, “And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
No matter how we feel in any given moment, we are still in control of what we say and do, and we should use this opportunity to point our lives back to God. A defining characteristic of a Christian is how he or she responds to trials. By finding the good in the bad and giving thanks despite the negative circumstances, Christians set themselves apart from the rest of the world while simultaneously lifting their own spirits by fixing their eyes on God instead of on the world.
So this Thanksgiving, whether you see the blessing abounding in your life or you are struggling to find anything to be thankful for, turn to God, the one who blesses you with grace and salvation daily and who longs for you to praise Him in the midst of your suffering, trusting in Him and His perfect purpose for your life now and forevermore.
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