Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

IN everything give thanks

Thanksgiving is upon us again.  I love this holiday.  It probably is my favorite, even more than Christmas.  I love that people stop to give thanks to the Lord – even people who otherwise deny Him.  It’s also a great teachable moment for our kids.

We should have no problem thinking of things that we are thankful for.  We are truly blessed.  Family, friends, freedom, faith … just to name a few.  But often our lives are filled with difficulties, even tragedies, that occur right around this holiday.  How can we possibly give thanks when our lives are falling apart?  As always, God has the answer…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

You are to give thanks “IN everything” – not necessarily “FOR everything.”  How can you really give thanks to the Lord FOR your child sick in the hospital?  How can you give thanks FOR your family member that recently passed away?  How can you give thanks FOR your marriage that is falling apart?  No, God doesn’t ask us to do that.  Rather, He asks us to give thanks to Him “in” everything.  In other words, despite the circumstances, give God thanks anyway.  It’s a command.  It’s God’s will.  He requires it.  Why?  Is He a sadist?  Of course not.  He asks us to do that for our good.  It’s a perspective check.

God promises to make “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 We don’t always know how He will do that, or when – but He promises to do it and because of that we can give thanks.  Often it is in the darkest times of our lives that we draw the closest to God and ultimately renew the closeness of our relationship with Him.  Once the difficulty passes, we continue to enjoy the closeness with God and now have new experiences that we can share with others – especially those that are hurting in ways we have hurt.

So this Thanksgiving let’s obey God’s will for our lives and give thanks IN everything, even if we have a hard time giving thanks FOR everything.  Maybe by doing that we will see God intervene and help us through our trials more quickly.

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