GIVING THANKS FOR EVERYTHING
And give thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)
Having had afflictions for about ten years, being thankful in the midst is a lesson continuously being presented to me as an opportunity to grow and depend upon God.
Have you encountered saints in the church who have a sweet demeanor, love overflowing and who leave a fragrance of Christ wherever they go? Are you attracted to them because peace abounds, grace pours from their mouths, and nothing seems to rattle them?
I would venture to say the secret behind these incredible attributes and strength of character come from the ability to believe, and have faith in God during the conflicts, trials and sufferings. Usually, these saints have endured much – pain, betrayal, anguish, and persecution.
Through the years, no doubt, you have heard we are to thank God in the midst of our trials as we are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 –
Be thankful in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you who belong to
It may be hard to do, having this posture of thankfulness, when the pain is excruciating, relentless, overwhelming, and consuming. Especially difficult if those around you seem to be having an easier time of things – you feel the odd ball, the lonely one and forgotten at times by God. But, knowing we are to give thanks, we do it out of obedience to God which in turn becomes a blessing to us because that obedience turns into our love for God.
THEN THERE'S THE FOR...
But what do we do about thanking God for our suffering, pain, rejection, diagnosis, job loss, wayward child, etc.? How is it even possible to be thankful for something which brings us so much pain?
Jesus had a moment at the end of His life on earth where He had to lay down His desires, His wants, His hurt (so to speak). He had to completely trust the will of His Father and accept God’s will for His life and lay down His life. He had to submit and acknowledge God’s greater purpose.
“Abba Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36 (NLT)
Was this difficult for Him? Yes. He cried out, He was on His face, He was shedding drops of blood. But, in humility and submission, He accepted God’s will and desired to please His Abba Father, whatever the cost.
Can we learn from His example? Yes. Paul instructs us in Philippians 2:5 to have the same attitude as Christ – how are we to have one? Leaning on our own strength, understanding, knowledge, will lead us down a slippery slope and into the pit of despair. Because we cannot do the impossible. Even Jesus acknowledged only God can do the possible.
This is the answer. Fully recognize God as capable, sovereign, good and as Abba Father, will help us to give thanks for our circumstances.
No doubt you have heard others explain away this mandate to give thanks for. Looking at the world around us, it would be easy to excuse it away. How could one possibly give thanks for war, abortions, betrayal, crushing attacks and the like? On the surface it may seem like an oxymoron, or worse – someone who is out of touch with the world.
However, as believers, we are not of this world (John 15:19). Looking deeper into the kingdom of God, our marching orders are different and are meant to give glory to God, in and for all things.
Yes, in the strength of Jesus. We may not be able to breathe the words, nor choke out the thanks, but when we seek Him and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), we are calling on Jesus to be our Intercessor and say that which we cannot.
It is here we find and stand in complete surrender. And understand God’s pleasure and His will for us.
Dear one, even though it is extremely difficult, release your pain into the hands of the Father, and thank Him for your circumstances, your pain, your anguish. Let Him transform your heart and cause your eyes to look unto Him who loves you so very much.
Jesus does indeed, have this.
Abba Father, I read in Scripture I am to thank You in and for everything. Honestly, I can’t, but I believe and have faith You can through me and for me. I want to please You in all things and with my life – including this suffering, pain, and anguish. I thank You for ________. Yes, I do thank You because You are for me. And with me. Always.