“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(1 Thess. 5:18, ESV)
I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I had just seen my good friend Joe accidentally slice his finger open and I couldn't believe the words which came out of his mouth. It happened in 1982, but the words are still ringing in my ears. As the blood poured out from his finger, the first words which came out of his mouth was, “Thank you, Jesus.” I knew he was a Christian who really walked the talk, but this response took me by surprise. When I asked him why he thanked Jesus, Joe quoted the verse cited above. He explained that “all circumstances” meant all circumstances — the good and the bad.
Giving thanks to God for His many blessings is understandable even if we don't always do it. Good health, a comfortable home and food on the table are easily seen as evidence of God's love and protection. But what about when things don't go “right”? Are we more likely to see misfortune, pain and hardships as evi-dence of God's punishment instead of His love? This concept was very popular in Biblical times.
When Jesus' disciples saw a man born blind, they asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus' response provides insight into how we can give thanks in all circumstances. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:2-3). In other words, the difficulties in our life provide opportunities for God to reveal his love for us in even more powerful ways. His strength is made evident in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
It is God's will that we spend eternity with Him in heaven. That's why He sent His Son, Christ Jesus to be our Savior. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been set free from sin, death and the power of the devil. Thank God!
Blood flowed from Joe's finger as a result of his carelessness. Blood from Jesus' hands and feet flowed as a result of God's intended purpose. Trusting in His eternal mercy, we can by His grace give thanks to God in all circumstances, and in all places - - home, community, and church.
Pastor Mark R. Rhoads