“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Everything? Really? Can we do that? Can we sincerely give thanks for everything, even the things we don’t necessarily feel thankful for?
The way someone answers this question will depend on their perspective. And perspective is always a choice. So while the answer is clearly “yes,” it is often difficult to put into practice. Our lives are chock full of ups and downs, with happy times and sad times. We laugh and we cry. We rejoice and we mourn. There are times when we feel compelled to celebrate and there are times when celebration might not feel appropriate. And yet, it is always appropriate.
At any given moment, there are people around the world experiencing every imaginable emotion. While one person is rejoicing at life, another might be devastated by someone’s passing. Today, there are weddings and there are funerals. In every sporting event, there is a winner and a loser. New businesses are enjoying their grand-openings, while others are permanently closing their doors. Let’s face it, the feelings we have today aren’t the same for everyone.
But God’s will for us is to give thanks in everything. Can we see the silver lining in everything? Yes, if we choose to. Can we rejoice when a loved one loses their life? Yes, especially if we know where they’re going. Death is a personal loss, and it’s temporary for those who live God’s way. I’m not saying that it’s easy. It’s ok to cry. Our Messiah cried when He saw Lazarus’s lifeless body. So, He understands the emotions that we experience. The fact is, we can celebrate, even when we’re sad.
What do we have to give thanks for? That’s a personal question, and everyone on earth can answer it with something different. It’s also a universal question that can be answered identically by everyone who believes in God’s word. We can all give thanks for Him. Everything we have is from Him. He owes us nothing, and we can’t do anything to ever earn His love. He gives it to us anyway.
Saying “thank you” is often a conditioned response to show gratitude for a specific deed. It’s expected by some, and many consider it rude not to say it. It’s usually followed by “you’re welcome,” and then both sides have completed their duty. We said it, so we don’t have to say it again.
But here’s the real question. How many times do we need to thank God for what He’s done for us? Is it enough to only say it once? Should we just say “thank you,” and move on with our lives? Absolutely not! Everything He ever did is for us, and we owe Him everything we have. As a matter of fact, the degree to which we are grateful to Him is directly reflected by the way we treat others. When we show anything but love to someone He created, we show ingratitude to Him.
So, is it ever ok for us to be angry with God? I suppose, but that only shows our lack of understanding. Our lives are His. He is preparing us, each in a different way, for His return. Some of the things that He puts us through aren’t pleasant, but they’re necessary, often in ways that we can’t understand. But we will.
So true faith must come with true gratitude, all the time, in every circumstance. This is His will for us, because He has done it all for us. Give thanks to Him!
Have a great day everyone!