Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
You Are With Me
This seems like a really hard thing to do. What’s that? I don’t know how I will ever be able to give thanks when bad things happen to me or to the people I love and care about. Is that what you think I want you to do? Do you really think I want you to give thanks for terrible things that happen in life? You don’t? No, that would be really weird, don’t you think? Yes, that’s exactly what I thought. Yes, I know. Let me clear this up for you. I’d like that a lot.
I don’t want you to give thanks for every circumstance that you find yourself in. You will find yourself in some terrible circumstances in life. Yes, I know. You live in a sinful and broken world. Sin has corrupted the world and everything in it. Bad things can and do happen to good people. You know that. Yes, I certainly do. In every circumstance I want you to give thanks to me. You do? Yes, I do.
Why do you think that you can still give thanks to me in the midst of terrible circumstances? I’m not sure. What do you know about terrible circumstances and me? You are with me in the midst of all my circumstances. Yes, I am. I am never alone in the pain that I feel or the loss that I experience. No, you are not. You feel my pain and weep when I weep. Yes, I do.
You are never more near me than when I am feeling broken hearted about something. Yes, that’s true. Some of the closest and most intimate moments I’ve spent with you have been when I’ve been experiencing great pain. I have never left you alone, have I? No, you haven’t. Is that something to rejoice and give thanks about? Yes Lord, it is.
What have I been able to do with terrible circumstances? You have been able to bring about good in my life even when something really terrible has happened. Like what? You have grown my faith and trust in you when I have gone through great difficulties. You have deepened my prayers as I have cried out to you. Aren’t those outcomes worth rejoicing and giving thanks? Yes Lord, they are.
What do you know about this life and terrible circumstances? This life is short. It is like the blink of an eye or a snap of the fingers or even a mist that is here one second and gone the next. Yes, but what do you have to look forward to? I have living forever in heaven with you to look forward to. Has the pain and suffering in this life ever caused you to think more about living forever in heaven with me? Yes, it has. Isn’t that a cause to rejoice and give thanks for even in very difficult circumstances? Yes Lord, it is.
Do you think that you can now rejoice in every circumstance you will face in life? Yes Lord, I know that I can rejoice because you are with me. Yes, I am.
Lord, help me to give thanks in all the difficult circumstances I will face in life. Thank you for drawing near to me when I have been broken hearted. Thank you for bringing about good even when I have felt pain, suffering and loss. Amen
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