Thanksgiving in All Circumstances

Scripture Reading — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

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

Our listener Yulia shared with us how her husband abandoned her and their two small children shortly after she became a Christian and joined a local church. Soon she lost her job and was about to lose her housing. Yulia’s unbelieving mother said that everything happened to her because of her “new religion.”

But the local church stepped in. The deacons held a special collection to support the daycare for Yulia’s children, and soon she managed to find a new job. Yulia says that her prayer life helped her to get through some very difficult times. She is thankful to God for sending such caring people into her life.

On the one hand, our passage today provides some important guidelines for Christian living. On the other hand, Paul’s words sound like an almost impossible directive. How can we “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances”?

In difficult times we have to be reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Our heavenly Father loves and cares for us. We must always focus our spiritual sight on his power to deliver us from evil in this temporal life and in eternity. We must also thank God for the salvation we have in Jesus, regardless of our external circumstances. Can you do that?

Prayer

Father, when our circumstances are difficult, you are near. Encourage us through your Spirit and through your people. Use us to share your love with others. Amen.