I was listening to “Focus on the Family” the other day and while they were talking about Thanksgiving, they touched on some points that hit home with me.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

As Christians we know that we are supposed to constantly give thanks to God but for some reason this translated to me as “Give thanks to God for everything, even the bad things that may be happening in our lives”.  It has always been kind of hard for me to wrap my head around this. Well, come to find out, my reasoning is not entirely accurate. I mean…it is…but it ain’t…time comes into play as you will see later. The scripture above says” Give thanks IN all circumstances” not “Give thanks FOR all circumstances”. That’s a big difference.

For example, let’s say that you are going through a financial storm because you’ve been laid off. According to 1 Th. 5:18, you don’t have to be thankful for being laid off, but in the midst of being laid off you need to give thanks to God for your health or continuing to pay some bills or putting food on your table, etc. There is always something to be thankful for, we just need to make sure that we find those things in the midst of our storms, thereby making us thankful IN all circumstances. Dr. Dobson’s guest, whose name I can’t recall, said that he keeps a daily journal and gives thanks for the previous day’s entries everyday. What a great exercise! I keep a journal, (sporadically, I need to get better), so I am able to look back and see where God has moved in my life, but I never considered giving thanks today for the things that I wrote yesterday.  The radio guest said that it would change your life! I plan to try it and I encourage you to try it too!

Now here’s where it really gets good. While we are going through storms, if we continue to stay faithful to God by giving Him the glory, honor, praise and thanks, He brings us through the storm stronger in Him than we were before. We actually grow our relationship with Christ through these storms!  

But wait there’s more! Even though we are not required to give thanks for the storm/circumstance itself, while we are going through it, once God has brought us through the storm, He blesses us, then we look back and see where we would have been had we not gone through the storm. When we see this, we are so grateful, we end up actually thanking Him for the storm! If we revisit our example from above it would probably play out with you getting a better job plus you’ll get the revelation that God removed you from a job that you should have actually quit years ago anyway for a plethora of reasons. Thus, you would thank God for laying you off, taking you through everything you went through, and building your relationship with Him.

So in essence, we DO thank God for the storm/circumstance…just not while we are going through it. Which means we give thanks to God for everything!