Give Thanks for Every Circumstance

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)

The above scripture is one of those passages that we learn early on in our Christian life. Most of us apply the “thankful thing” when we get a little disappointed when our vacation doesn’t work out. We say something like, “well God knows best and all things work together”. I must admit, that’s not a bad thing.

But what about those times when our life falls apart? It might be that we lose our job, or experience a debilitating illness, or even worse, what if we lose a loved one in death? Do we really have a thankful heart in those situations?

This scripture is not suggesting that we jump up and down with thanks because we have a life-changing loss, but the passage is teaching us to apply the supernatural element of giving thanks to our loss. God wants us to see Him in the midst of our circumstances.

There are least four reasons we should give thanks in all our situations.

Giving thanks in all situations is what we do as committed followers of Jesus.
Part of our spiritual DNA is to trust God in all things. Even when we can’t understand or comprehend why this is happening to us, our duty is to give thanks to God because He can see the big picture. Our God is sovereign and in control, and He is up to something when things happen to us that we cannot control. Note the following verse:

“For our light affliction and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (our current situation), but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Giving thanks in all situations is an act of faith.
Our faith is measured by our level of trust. It is trust that enacts the supernatural element of God’s grace. He wants us to be so dependent upon Him that whatever happens we immediately run to Him and draw on His grace to help us through the crisis. Jesus wants to be our rest, our peace, and our “present help in the time of trouble”.

Giving thanks in all things causes us to focus on our blessings rather than our loss.
I think one of the reasons we take loss so hard is that we are so centered on what has been taken away from us, that we miss the joy of our present blessings. Each of us has been blessed in immeasurable ways. By reflecting on God’s goodness we are able to see clearly that we are a recipient of God grace, mercy and blessing. We then move from a sense of loss to a sense of God’s overwhelming love. It’s then that we can cast our burden on Him.

Giving thanks in all things causes us to live with Heaven in mind.
When it comes down to it, this life is preparation for eternity. As a committed follower of Jesus, we are not of this world. Matter of fact, the scripture teaches us that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. A stranger is not familiar with the territory; he has no desire to get attached to this world. A pilgrim is one who is just passing through to another destination.

I have often heard the phrase, “He is so heavenly minded he is no earthly good”. This is usually a reference to someone who is serious about his walk with God, most of the time it’s not a compliment. I think the opposite is true; when “you are so earthly minded you are no heavenly good”. The more we learn to trust God in all things, the greater the upward pull toward heaven.

Bottom Line
When things are falling apart it is difficult to stay focused and calm. The pain is real, and sometimes the suffering seems unfair. But as committed followers of Christ our response in every situation is to “give thanks in all things”. It’s what we do because we trust God not only for our salvation but we also trust Him for every situation that life throws at us. Rest assured that our trials and disappointments is our cue to give thanks in all things.

“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Trusting God is the Goal


Doesn’t it seem logical to think that if you are a faithful follower of Jesus your life will go smoothly, except for a few bumps along the way?  Besides, isn’t a trouble free life directly related to the decisions you make along the way?

The above paragraph sure sounds good, but life is not always logical. The problem is  “life happens” along the way. Yes, it is true our decisions or lack of decisions do affect the quality of our life, but our best laid plans can be short circuited by those unexpected and unforeseen events that surprise us.

So the issue is not will we have circumstances that get us out of our comfort zone, but  rather the issue is how do we respond in the midst of the circumstances?   The greatest element in the midst of a major problem is the development of our perspective rather than the solution of our problem.  The solution is certainly an important aspect but our reaction is the key component to any crisis.

You can observe this principle at work throughout Scripture.  When the disciples were afraid in the midst of the storm at sea, they wondered why Jesus was asleep down below.  Jesus wanted them to have faith that He would take care of them in the storm.  To the disciples the storm was the issue; to Jesus, faith was the issue.

When Jesus was teaching the 5000 that had gathered in the countryside the disciples said, “Let’s send them home so they can get something to eat.”   Then Jesus said, “you feed them.”  The disciples immediately responded, “You want us to spend 200 denarii on bread?”  Again, the disciples missed the point. He wanted them to immediately trust God in the midst of any kind of crisis.  It never dawned on them that Jesus could provide a miraculous solution.

Just like the storm on the sea, this event was to test the disciple’s resolve to trust and depend upon God in every situation.  The same is true with us.  I am convinced that every problem and crisis is a test.  Will we worry and be full of doubt and fear, or will we trust Him to do what we can’t do on our own?

Instead of being full of worry and fear, God desires our immediate response to be, “Father, show me your will in this situation.”  God is active and involved in every aspect of your life, whether you sense it or not. You can either resort to worry or you can chose to believe that God is up to something in your life that will result in a new level of faith.

I like the way Henry Blackaby says it in his “Experiencing God” series; “Go to God and ask Him to help you see His perspective on your situation…When you face confusing circumstances, don’t start blaming God. Don’t just give up following Him. Go to God.  Ask Him to reveal the truth of your circumstances. Ask Him to show you His perspective. Then wait on the Lord.”*

Facing difficulties is really all about the process of teaching you to trust God. It’s about Jesus actively becoming Lord of your life.  That means He becomes the Focus, the Initiator and Director of your life. You will never know the truth of our circumstances until you have heard from God.*

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

*(Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God, Lifeway Press,1990)