“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Giving thanks! In all circumstances! Whew! That’s not easy.
Lots of the things we are asked to do as Christians are not easy: turn the other cheek, love our enemies, give time and money to the work of the church, and on and on. But this—giving thanks in all circumstances—is hard to do.
When good people get cancer or other terribly debilitating diseases, it’s hard to give thanks. When we see violence or even bullying against our children, it’s hard to give thanks. When it seems that a war somewhere in the world is inevitable and our young people are dying because of it, it’s hard to give thanks.
Two years ago, I fell and had injuries that landed me in a nursing home for five weeks. I had to rely on other people to do things for me. I was unable to go anywhere without help. I couldn’t even get the kinds of food that I really wanted unless someone (and there were some very good friends who did) brought fruit or salads to me. I couldn’t concentrate on reading because of the pain medication I was on.
It was hard for me to give thanks while all that was going on. I’m better now. I can do almost everything as well as I did before. I’m able to be independent again. But I remember those dark hours of despair.
And how do I give thanks for all that? Well, not what you might think! I give thanks for what I learned about living dependently. I give thanks for what I learned about visiting in nursing homes. I give thanks for friends who were willing to do laundry and clean my house and drive me places. And I give thanks for now being able to do all those things for other folks.
How do you give thanks?
My challenge to you is to give thanks—in all circumstances. And then live out that thanksgiving every day. Not just on the fourth Thursday of November!
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