Summary: We cannot give thanks FOR all circumstances but we can IN all circumstances. God has a purpose in every storm, shipwreck, tragedy, disease, or whatever that comes upon His children. Giving thanks to God is meant for our good; it enriches our life.
Paul was a man who suffered a great deal of pain and yet wrote, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thess 5: 16-18).
For Paul to give us such an advice is amazing.
• It shows that a Christian can give thanks regardless of what happens.
• We just need to train our eyes to seeing the hand of God in our life.
• It is easy for us to be thankful when things are going well, but as Christians, we can rise above any situation to thank God because we believe He causes all things work together for good.
Giving Thanks for Fleas
Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place relates an incident that taught her an important principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck.
Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thess had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She finally succumbed.
During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was several months later when they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.
SOURCE: Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place.
God is good to us.
• Giving thanks force us to look at this God, and acknowledge His role in our lives.
• He is not a ‘hands-off’ God but One who is very committed to our well-being.
• We must giving thanks because we’ve this tendency to take things for granted.
• We do not treasure things or people until we lose them. When they leave us, we regretted not doing enough for them.
(1) Paul did not say to give thanks FOR all circumstances, but IN all circumstances.
• It is not God’s will for things evil or sinful to happen. We cannot be thanking God for everything.
• Not all our circumstances in life are good, but there will always be something in those circumstances for which we can thank God.
• If “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28) then there is some ‘divine’ in every experience of our lives.
Remember the time Paul was taken as prisoner onboard the ship bound for Rome?
• Our adult SS class put up this skit a few months back.
• The ship went through a terrible storm. They had to throw the cargo overboard.
• They have gone without food for many days and Paul had to urge them to eat.
• Acts 27:35 “…he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.”
Isn’t that amazing? No mention of the storm, the loss of cargo, and the danger they went through. Paul gave thanks for the food.
• Why? Because God is fully in charge.
• Paul told them, “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me…” (Acts 27:24) and assured me that all onboard will live.
• You see, despite all that they were going through, God was still in it.
• Throughout the ordeal, God is still in control.
• The ordeal was part of His permissive will. It will be the same for our lives today.
(2) God has a purpose in every storm, shipwreck, tragedy, disease, or whatever that comes upon His children.
• All these things do not necessarily come from God but they are used by God to bless and strengthen our faith.
• Chance, fate or luck plays no part in the life of the life of a Christian.
• There is a divine purpose for every thing that happens in our lives.
• For Paul, the ship-wreck at Malta became an opportunity to win that island to Christ.
• The blessings that come out of the trials and tribulations we experience may not become immediately obvious to us, but hold firm to the truth of Rom 8:28 and in God’s time, they will.
Very often, we have to look back to appreciate things better.
SOMETHING POSITIVE ALWAYS
When Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked on a lonely island he thought of both the good and the bad.
- He was cast onto a desolate island, but he was still alive, not drowned as all of his ship’s company was.