TOPIC: IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, Bible in a Year: Exodus 34–35; Matthew 22:23–46
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In our suburb we complain about the constant power outages. They can hit three times in a week and last up to twenty-four hours, plunging the neighborhood into darkness. The inconvenience is hard to bear when we cannot use basic household appliances.
Our Christian neighbor often asks, “Is this also something to thank God for?” She is referring to 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We always say, “Yes, of course, we thank God in all things.” But the half-hearted manner in which we say it is contradicted by our grumbling every time the power goes off.
One day, however, our belief in thanking God in all circumstances took on new meaning. I returned from work to find our neighbor visibly shaken as she cried, “Thank Jesus the power was off. My house would have burned down, and my family and I would have perished!”
A refuse-collection truck had hit the electricity pole in front of her house and brought down the high-tension cables right over several houses. Had there been power in the cables, fatalities would have been likely.
The difficult circumstances we face can make it hard to say, “Thanks, Lord.” We can be thankful to our God who sees in every situation an opportunity for us to trust Him—whether or not we see His purpose.
Prayer: Father, we honor You with our words, but so often our actions reveal that our hearts don’t trust You. Help us to see You at work in every circumstance, no matter how difficult.
By God’s grace we can be thankful in all things.
In the final instructions of his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul culminates the theme of living out our faith. In addition to his challenge to be thankful in everything, we see a rapid-fire series of challenges (5:16–22): “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances . . . . Do not quench the Spirit. . . . hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” This could feel intimidating if we were expected to accomplish this on our own, but God has given us the Holy Spirit. The challenge that undergirds all the others is “Do not quench the Spirit.” Instead of resisting (“quenching”) the Spirit’s help, as we yield to His control and guidance in our lives He equips us to live out our faith.