Previously posted on 11/13/2012
“ And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:14-18
“Give thanks in all circumstances”. In a month where the focus is on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t seem difficult to give thanks. When I check in with my friends on Facebook, I am greeted with several posts about daily thankfulness. Every day, in the month of November, I reminded to be thankful for my family, friends, health, relationships and for so many other wonderful things. I’m glad to see that the season of Thankfulness has extended beyond just Thanksgiving day. It’s beautiful.
But, give thanks in ALL circumstances? That’s a little more difficult. It’s easy to be thankful when the world is right side up and the sun is shining. But, what happens when our world is up-ended and we don’t know which way to turn? It’s not as easy to be thankful then. If we’re honest, thankfulness is often the farthest thing from our minds in times like those.
But, I am pretty sure the Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about when he wrote that “this is God’s will for [us]”. These words were written by the same hand that was lifted in praise while shackled and bleeding in prison. They were poured out from a heart that saw much pain and hardship while walking with the Lord.
As believers, we sometimes don’t know what to do or say when tragedy strikes. In the days following the September 11th attacks, Christian songwriter, Matt Redman, noticed this gap in our worship. He said,
“It struck me how little a vocabulary we have in church worship music to respond appropriately in dark times of life…We all face seasons of pain and unease. And in those times we need to find our voice before God. The church, and indeed the world, needs songs of lamentation.”
Out of that heart revelation came the song, “Blessed be Your Name” with a refrain that echoes “He gives and takes away…my heart will choose to say, Lord, Blessed be Your Name”.
Be thankful this season. Be thankful in all things. And, let this practice of thankfulness seep into your heart and your daily routine. Let it become a part of you. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. And, when the dark times come, you will be able to confidently bless the name of the Lord and know that His plan and purpose is greater than we know. He is good and He gives us a hope and a future. Now, that’s something for which to give thanks!