Summary: We are told to give thanks IN everything, and give thanks FOR everything? Is this logical? Is this possible?
The Giving of Thanks in the Times of Trials
This is a list of things housewives are most thankful for: *For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks. *For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the pros. *For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents. *For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language. *And, for Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done." (Melvin Newland)
This season is meant to remind us to be thankful. Now, many people don’t take the time to think about WHOM they are thanking. Some nice being up in the sky someone, apparently. However, we as Christians know who it is that we are thankful to. Our God, the Father, maker of heaven and earth, creator of everything in them. And to Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for us. It is God that we are thankful to.
But, when are we thankful? When are we to give thanks? I mean, when was the last time that something bad happened to you? When was the last time something happened to you and the immediate response was certainly not thankfulness? This month? This week? This morning? How far are we to carry the idea of giving thanks? Even when bad things happen? And when they do, how do we thanks God? Today we will look at 2 verses in particular. They are found in Paul’s writings, 1 Thessalonians and Ephesians.
Now, the first passage says this: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess.5:18) In all. We are told that God wants us to give thanks in everything we go through. Well, it doesn’t take very long to see that this is hard. Lots of things are difficult and trying for us. We face pressures and struggles that seem insurmountable. And yet Paul tells us to give thanks. How can that be? Why should that be?
Well, let’s look at that for a few minutes. In all things. You know, when we come to the Lord, we are often told that we have to have faith. We are told we must believe. We must trust. So, we ask Him to forgive us and clean us, to change us and guide us. This is all by faith. And usually we start off great. We feel forgiven and we feel so close to the Lord. But at some point the feelings die out. Always. 100% of the time, the feelings calm down a little. And we are reminded of how much we still are like how we used to be. We don’t feel forgiven anymore and we don’t feel as close to the Lord anymore.
And we are faced with a choice. Turn back now and figure it was all a hoax, a figment of our imaginations. Or, we can press on. Many back out at this point. To keep going would feel fake. And so they give up. That’s what happens when you make a decision on faith but keep running by feelings.
But you know, God hasn’t changed. He’s still there. He still loves you. He still wants to forgive and clean you. That’s still His nature. But He allows the feelings to fade a little so that you aren’t running from one emotional high to another. He has to make you feel like you’re in the dark so that you will stumble towards the light.