It is the season of Thanksgiving...let us GIVE THANKS!! It seems so easy to say, sometimes, but is it always easy to do?? Let's see what scripture says about thankfulness; get ready......!!
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1Thessalonians 5:18
Hmmmmm, this is a hard one if you really read what it is saying so, I think Paul is saying to us, no matter what hard thing you deal with, you are supposed to give thanks? Again I say, hmmmmm...So, when we are faced with illness or injury, financial trouble, losing a job, separation from loved ones, grief, or any other hardship, we can think of we should be GRATEFUL? Really, in ALL circumstances?
Let's see what he says next: …" for this is the will of God IN Christ Jesus for you." The will of God in Christ Jesus?
Ok, let me think this through. "In Christ Jesus," he says. In Christ Jesus for me. I believe that what he's saying is Jesus is the example FOR me. Jesus faced some pretty challenging circumstances in his short human life on earth. Rejection, disrespect, isolation, loneliness, physical and verbal abuse, abandonment, starvation. And yet, Jesus was peaceful, optimistic, positive, helpful, selfless, encouraging, strong, JOYFUL, and always trusting in God the Father. I think all of those qualities demonstrate gratefulness.
I think Jesus showed, through his actions, and through his demonstration of resisting taking action in certain things that he could have rejected or rebelled against in his short life on earth, by trusting God, that he was GRATEFUL for the opportunity to serve in any way God asked him to. God's will is whatever He asks of us, and trusting Him for the results of our serving Him IN what He has put in front of us.
This is a big task to take on, to aim for God's will, by following the example of all Jesus endured here on earth, and to seek to follow Jesus' example of gratefulness in whatever comes our way. But the final words of this verse are "FOR YOU."
So these hard things, these challenges put in front of us, are FOR US! Ok, this is a way that God is in a relationship with us. By giving us challenges to grow and seek Him more, feel Him more, see more of His results in these things.
In the context of the year 2020, the first year of a new decade, I think we have plenty to consider here as being relatable to the example Jesus set for us.
We have faced the unknown, isolation from our everyday lives, separation from loved ones, fear, division in our communities, anxiety, loneliness, etc. Jesus dealt with all of that and MORE! And he did that all FOR US!! For ME! For YOU!! Wow, what a gift!! Who can we do that for, to follow in Jesus' example for us? We can set an example for those who are watching us by continuing in this hardship with our heads held high, looking up, gratefully anticipating what God is GOING to do with all of this!! With everything we go through now, and in the future, we are His, and He's got it!
So whatever circumstances you face this Thanksgiving, it is ok to feel momentarily down, confused, scared, or frustrated, but then do what you can to replace that feeling with the TRUTH that God is with us, and Christmas is coming!! The gift of that baby in the manger was God's will for us!
I, for one, am so very GRATEFUL for that!!
Happy Thanksgiving, Sweet Sisters. May you be blessed, even within any challenges you face, and may you see through God's loving eyes for you, and may you be thankful. I am so thankful for each of you,