1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
To be honest, sometimes it's the "all" in that verse that gets me. Most of us can be thankful, for lots of things, at lots of times, but in "all" circumstances? That can be tough.
What about when you find yourself suffering illness, or defeat, or you're walking through huge loss...what about when a loved one leaves this world too soon and you still can't see past your tears...or when you've been praying for your prodigal loved one to come home and it seems like the prayers are unanswered...what about when you're discouraged, disillusioned, and struggling with disbelief...or when you're overwhelmed, overextended, and just fighting being over-stressed...what about when the needs mount high and the way doesn't look clear...or when people are cruel, life seems unfair, and the enemy's breathing down your back...what about when the storms come, and the car breaks down, or the air conditioner stops working?
Yes, these are the "all" things that can be hard to find gratitude in, whether it's huge losses or just life irritations. But God's word never changes to fit our circumstances. His Truth rises above our circumstance, so that we can too. He doesn't say give thanks "for it", but "in it all," for He knows He's building more deeply into our lives and character than He could ever build without the hard times.
We're gaining strength. We're gaining perseverance. We're being reminded that true joy is never based on how we feel or our outside situations. We understand that God's ways are bigger, His thoughts are higher, and we can be assured that He holds us in His hands.
No matter what you might be facing, the good news is this, you woke up. He's given us today. And if we're still here, living and breathing, may our every breath bring honor to Him.
Dear Lord, we thank You that we never fight the battles in life alone. Help us to stay strong, choose joy and be grateful in "all." In the Name of Jesus, Amen.