Give thanks in all circumstances...
My daughter is in Afghanistan.
I am fighting diabetes.
I have no job.
My son is doing drugs.
My child has died.
My marriage is falling apart.
My bank account is overdrawn.
I'm tired of being sick and tired.
Circumstances affect each of us differently. It is easier to say, "give thanks in all circumstances" than to actually do it. Especially, if the person saying it has never gone through troubled times.
In this case, the one saying it knew what he was talking about exactly. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus, had his moments in the suffering department.
- Flogged 5 times with the Jews 39 lashes...
- Beaten by Roman rods 3 times...
- Betrayed by those who pretended to be friends...
- Pummeled with rocks...
- Many sleepless nights and missed meals...
Paul said, "And that's the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches" (1 Corinthians 11:28 MSG).
No doubt, circumstances can make life difficult to face. The pain is real. Adversity is hard. And, trials take us on a journey of suffering. If allowed, difficult circumstances can wear us down, zap our joy, and defeat us. Our vision is blurred by what isn't possible, rather than, what is possible.
Thanksgiving and anticipation of God's grace — the seasons between which we now find ourselves — come when we walk with God on the journey. God will lead us to the very place that restores our joy and hope. He allows us to take a breather and regroup so that we will be refreshed and strengthened.
Our circumstances may take longer than we desire and life may seem like it is crashing down. We must never allow our hand to lose its grip on God nor let our eyes begin "wondering off" after a quicker solution. Let's trust God's leading. Our tomorrows are in His hands!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:4-9)