Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians when they were suffering persecution. Imagine their reaction. Paul, seriously? In all circumstances?
I know I am sitting in a circumstance right now that many can relate to easily. I have started working from a home “office.” I have started supervising my teenage son’s lessons. I am home with a lot more people than I am usually home with.
Even in just partially detailing my current circumstances I feel the urge to say, “But I am grateful.” It's almost a cultural reflex to try to lessen the sting of my circumstances. To show that I understand it could be worse, and that I am still blessed.
Sometimes it feels as if, by being told to give thanks, our discomfort is somehow not validated. As if the gratitude is a “but” in our difficult times. Some mythical ledger is being calculated somewhere. If the balance sheet is completed properly, our thankful column will outweigh our trials column and we will lead a happy life.
Paul did not promise a happily-ever-after life. Nor did he ask us to be thankful for our trials. Sometimes times are tough, and that is okay. He simply instructs us to be thankful within our circumstances, even the difficult ones.
He meant you should be thankful despite the fact you have a mean boss, parent in hospice, or financial woes. Continue to thank God for his wisdom, provision, and action in your life. Find gratefulness even when you are simply relieved the day is done, and you made it!
God, thank you for being present in my life and showing me your grace, forgiveness, and presence even in darkness. Please continue to work within me to cultivate thankfulness with the help of your Holy Spirit guiding me. Amen.
Go Deeper — What stumbling block toward thankfulness do you have in your life? How can you be thankful within this obstacle? We love praying for people. Contact us to pray for you.
Photo Credit: Ben White