1 Thessalonians 5:18a: “give thanks in all circumstances….”
The other day my wife, Adrienne, was driving somewhere and I went along for the ride. As I rode looking out the window, I made an interesting remark. I said, “It’s amazing all that you notice when you aren’t having to drive.”
Have you noticed that to be true? You notice businesses, beauty, sunshine piercing through the clouds, wildlife, billboards, side streets, other motorists, houses, and landscapes.
It’s truly remarkable all that we drive by every day and miss because we are…well…driving.
Life can be like that. We tend to live life with such a tight focus on our present circumstances that we miss so much more around us. This focused living seems intensified when we are going through a crisis where we get tunnel-vision and focused on what is right in front of us and we can easily miss the bigger picture. It takes great effort to pull back from the fray and examine what’s really going on and get our bearings on what is bigger than our circumstances.
While Thanksgiving is a time we set aside to attempt this exercise, inevitably tough times hit and we focus in on our circumstances, losing perspective.
So, here are 3 reasons for which we can be thankful in the midst of any circumstance of life, even in the tough times.
- We can give thanks, even in tough times, because of Who God is.
Gold isn’t valuable because of its name. Gold is valuable and precious because of its essence. Gold is simply the name given to something that is special already in its essence. So it is with God. God is the name we use, to describe him who is the ultimate creator God. The King above all other gods. He is not special because of the name ascribed to him. He is special and worthy of our praise because of the essence of who he is.
Our circumstances do not change his essence or reality. This is a perspective we can have even in the midst of the darkest of times.
- We can give thanks, even in tough times, because of What God Has Done.
It’s not that we intend to be ungrateful or complaining, we just tend to take for granted the every day grace of God in the midst of this broken world.
Sometimes, we get so focused on the road of life that we unintentionally ignore all his temporal blessings
While “who God is” is sufficient cause for us to give praise, in his mercy and grace, God has also provided a variety of things that we need to acknowledge.
We tend to take for granted God’s common grace in the everyday moments of life such as rain (to water the earth), snow and winter (to control bacteria and insects), spring to produce life, etc.
But let us not stop at the temporary benefits of life he provides, let us also acknowledge the eternal benefits of Christ he has secured on our behalf.
This blessing is one that no circumstances of this world can take away.
- We can give thanks, even in tough times, because of What God is Going to Do.
God in his gracious sovereignty has provided a future glory for all his children and given them the inheritance of a prince. Each of us, as believers in Christ, have all the inheritance of a child of the King and there is plenty to go around.
When God establishes his kingdom and gathers his elect, he will eradicate evil, publicly prove our faith, and establish us in a forever kingdom of peace with him.
On occasion, after leaving my children home together, when I return, one of my children will say, “Dad, I’m so glad you are here. ‘So and so’ has been awful. Will you please make this right?” Why are they relieved and running to me when I get home? Because, they know one with authority and power is here. One who will judge rightly and who has their best interest in mind. They know, that it will be okay.
On a much grander scale, that is what it will be when the Father sends the command and Jesus comes back again as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. One with authority will arrive, all that is wrong will be made right, and we will be established as sons and daughters of God.
Distracted Living is Good
While distracted driving is bad, distracted living can be great. It can be liberating. When we get so fixated on our situation that the world seems no bigger than this moment, we’ve lost perspective and need to back up. The waves are just waves and God is so much bigger.
We don’t have to despair, and more than just simply trying to survive and not despair, we can actually thrive in thanksgiving in the midst of any moment of life.
A helpful process is backing up, lifting our eyes up to the heavens from where our help comes from, and acknowledging:
- Who God is.
- What God has done.
- What God is going to do.