As I type, someone I love very very dearly is at the hospital, having a scan to determine if they have cancer. As I sit in my study, taking a break from painting, I thought I’d share with you something that the Lord has been laying on my heart over the last few days.
Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonaki in Greece to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”. Giving thanks, Paul says, is God’s will for you and for me. “Easy”, you say?. Well it would be if that is all Paul is challenging us with, but it’s not. What Paul is actually saying is that giving thanks in all circumstances is God’s will for you and for me. Did you notice the difference …. in ALL circumstances. No matter what the context, no matter what you are experiencing – you may be facing some hard things, some dark nights, a long season of wilderness – give thanks.
The word gratitude carries with it the idea of being bound to the person you are thanking. You are, in essence, acknowledging that the reason you are to be thankful has not gone unappreciated. It is this “binding” that Paul addressed in Romans 1 when he says that there is a generation that are unthankful, and because they are unthankful they do not walk with God – they are “unbound”.
Paul is acknowledging that the most foundational way that we bind ourselves to God is to be thankful for all that He has provided for us. This is the great catalyst for truly being thankful in ALL circumstances because the knowledge that my life has been changed, that I am redeemed, that I have been bought with a price gives me a great reason to be thankful. Psalm 120 tells me that in times of plenty and in times of need I can look to the hills and see that my help comes from the Lord. He will not let my foot be moved.
I don’t know what the news will be from the hospital but today I choose to be grateful …
…. because God is blessing my life
…. because God fills my life with good things (Psalm 103:5)
…. because I no longer walk in fear (Psalm 23:4)
…. because His steadfast love never ceases, His mercies never (Lamentations 3:22-23)
…. because the my present troubles produce for me a glory that vastly outweighs them (2 Corinthians 4:17)