Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
When our lives are not working out according to our plans and not going the way we expected, we tend to grumble as we rumble, bumble, and stumble through life. That is why we need to take time each day to be alone with Jesus. When we pull back from our Lord during difficult times, our sinful nature grabs for the steering wheel of life, attempting to control what is going on around us, rather than letting Jesus direct our steps and determine our path. When we try to take control of our circumstances, we lose sight of Jesus and His perfect plan and purpose for our imperfect lives. Because Jesus knows what is best for us at all times, we can be sure that nothing is happening in our lives that first doesn’t pass through His nail-scarred hands.
Perhaps there is no better example of giving thanks in all circumstances than the one Jesus gave us on the night before His crucifixion.
He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
The bread was symbolic for the body of our Lord, who would be beaten and crucified the next day. With the cross in full view, knowing the infinite pain He would have to endure on our behalf by drinking the cup of God’s wrath and judgment to pay the penalty for our sins, Jesus gave thanks! Why? Because by laying down His life for us and taking our judgment, our condemnation, our scourging, our nails, our crown of thorns, and our humiliation, He would raise up our lives in relationship with Him.
Jesus was not giving thanks for the pain itself; He was giving thanks for what that pain would produce: our salvation and our eternity with Him in glory.
In light of this truth, is there any set of circumstances in which we are not able to give thanks? I would submit that those circumstances do not exist! We must keep our focus on our Lord, no matter what we are facing, and remember that we are not facing any of it alone. All of it is being used for our good and God’s glory. May that truth set us free to give thanks in all circumstances.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!