Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
This is a verse that I have wrestled with for many months and a perspective that God has been showing me for several weeks now.
I had always read that verse to mean that I was supposed to BE thankful FOR everything and every situation. However, recently as I have read and re-read that fifteen word challenge for every Christian… I realized something powerful. This verse says to Give thanks IN all circumstances… not FOR all circumstances.
This understanding was a real turning point for me as we have faced circumstances that impossible to be thankful for. It was a turning point because it gave me the freedom to know that I do not have to like what is happening to still appreciate what God is doing.
There was such freedom in that realization for me. I am not required to thank God for this hardship… but I do need to thank him through it. I had struggled with this verse for so long that I almost began to feel guilty when I would come across it. I would feel like I was not reacting correctly or being a good Christian when I could not be grateful for things that I was going through.
Since this perspective began to take root in my mind I have found freedom. Now, when I am tempted to sit and focus on my fears I have found myself making a conscious choice to instead to mentally list things that I am thankful for in my life. I have yet to run out of things to be thankful for…
- I am grateful that God can bring order and understanding, purpose and power out of the sin and sadness of this world. I am not thankful for the sin but I am thankful for the salvation that God offers us from it.
- I am thankful for the promise that God will never leave me or forsakes me as I walk through hard times.
- I am thankful for the gift of God’s word in the bible… that I have it to read and dig into for comfort, direction, and assurance on all days- both good and bad. My circumstances may change but his word never will.
- I am thankful for the people that God has placed in my life to support me, pray for me, and encourage me in the hard times.
- I am thankful that our troubles have brought my husband and I closer together and reinforced the foundation of our marriage.
- I am thankful for the opportunity to share these perspectives with others in the hopes each will help them to walk each step of their own struggle with more understanding and faith.
- I am thankful for a renewed appreciation for the little things in life that we often take for granted on a daily basis.
I have heard it said that during the hard times of life we can either become bitter or better.
I believe fully that the difference between the two comes down to our attitude of gratitude.
Can I be thankful FOR my struggle… maybe not today as I am still walking through it; however, I can and will be thankful DURING my struggle.
If you are facing a hard time right now I encourage you to try to adopt an attitude of gratitude – you will be amazed at what that simple perspective change will do to your actions and attitudes as you push forward through your problems.
This worship song by Hillsong is the perfect song to help you begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude today- no matter what you are facing. I hope that you will take time to let the words saturate your spirit today and transform your perspective on your problems.
I invite you to travel with me on this 40 day journey as I seek to find and share perspective in our pain. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or by subscribing to the blog. Feel free to also catch up on the previous posts in this series by clicking here.
Today, I would love to hear your thoughts about having an attitude of gratitude in the hard times-please feel free to leave a comment below.