Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess 5:18). Can we be thankful in the tough times? The Apostle Paul exhorts giving of thanks no matter what the circumstances. Paul did not say, “For everything give thanks.” Rather he said, “In everything give thanks.” While trials are inevitable, we are not asked to be thankful for evil and unforeseen happenings in our lives, as some morbid fascination with adversity. Instead, through inevitable difficulties, we may learn to see God’s greater purpose through suffering in our lives as believers. Then we are able to give thanks for that which God is working out in our lives. Remember the old TV show "Father knows best," in our case, as believers, our Heavenly Father does know best. James expressed this same challenge to believers when he said, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations.” We cannot prevent every bad thing from happening to us, so we must learn to see it as an opportunity to look beyond the trial. We must learn to take the long look when a trial comes. The phrase "It came to pass" is repeated many times in the Bible. Every difficulty in life "Comes to pass." We are to be thankful in every condition. things are never so bad with us that they could not be worse. We can be thankful in trials, although at times not for trials. The purifying process may be more painful than we can imagine. Years ago a friend of mine was put in a cast after having surgery. For some reason the cast was too tight and he was subjected to excruciating pain that lasted through the night. He said the Lord did not remove the pain but gave him grace to endure it. Paul also reminds us that unforeseen things which happen in believers’ lives are a part of God’s perfect will. He is the Director of our steps. Nothing happens to us that has not been sifted through God's Sovereign hands. Since God could prevent any evil from touching us, then all that He allows must be for our greater good. Our faithful God has chosen to allow difficulties, suffering, and evil, while at the same time making a way to escape (1 Cor 10:13). You can go to the bank with the fact that God works all things for good (Rom 8:28). While we may not always comprehend God’s will for us, He certainly knows and directs in our lives on a daily basis. Because we are saved, we can rejoice in the fact that God is our Protector and Guide. God is sort of like the statement on most vehicles side view mirrors "He is closer than you think He is." Gratitude should be our attitude as believers no matter what happens. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” The gift of the clay (us) having a Personal Potter Who loves us beyond our wildest imagination. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.