Monday, October 20, 2008

In Everything (Yes, Everything!) Give Thanks

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

         This is a tall order, by any standard, yet it is one of only a few things in the Word of God said to be definitely the will of God for your and my life, without exception (like abstinence from fornication, in 1Thess.4:3, for instance). In most cases, unless one is an absolute ingrate, thankfulness would not be so terribly hard. But it is the prepositional phrase “in everything” that becomes the sticking point. It is rather like Jesus’ admonition in the Sermon on the Mount to love your enemies. He went on to explain that loving and doing well for those who love you is nothing especially praiseworthy. Who can’t do that? It is loving someone who is your sworn enemy that separates the men from the boys, or the women from the girls. So, too, when things happen to us that seem to be contrary to what is right and fair, it is then that our thanksgiving has real meat to it.

         I remember when our daughter faced the prospect of losing custody of her three little boys due to the obsession of unscrupulous individuals, at the time. I believed within my heart and soul, this could not be the will of God. But at the same time, I knew I was not omniscient, as God was; and if I wanted to retain my sweet fellowship with Him, I must be prepared to take what His loving heart allowed. And, yes, even be willing to thank Him for it. Our heavenly Father is all-loving, as well as all-knowing, and so, even before she was vindicated, I decided I could trust Him, and in everything give thanks.

God may be sovereign in the affairs of men; but only we can decide if we like it.


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