Thanksgiving is the Will of God for you!
By John David Hicks
God did not say everything would be good in your life. In a sinful world “bad things” can happen to good people. Paul experienced these “bad things” and learned that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
It’s easy to give thanks for your blessings, but hard to give thanks in the difficult circumstances, hardships and afflictions. Often the circumstances make no sense or are very hurtful. Yet we are called to trust God totally, knowing that He is in charge. God sees the overall picture. It is an act of faith when you give thanks. You are confessing that “Jesus is Lord” and He is in control of all the situations of life.
It is in difficult times that our character is built and our faith is strengthened. That is why in the next verse 29, God wants you “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” God is concerned with your character. Like Jesus, you can trust God’s sovereignty and love in every situation. God’s children are to be “overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7). This keeps you from being self-centered and gives you faith. The self-centered person’s life is characterized by ingratitude (Romans 1:21) and no faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Thus, God instructs you to, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul did not say “for” all circumstances give thanks, but “in” all circumstances. In the middle of bad circumstances we are thankful for God’s presence and for the good He will accomplish through the affliction. As you mature in the Lord, you will live “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph.. 5:20).
If you would ask Paul, “What is the will of God for my life?” Paul would tell you three things that are the will of God for you: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Rejoice, pray and be thankful. That is the will of God for you!
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).
May you have a joyful thanksgiving–knowing that God is for you and that you are going to make it (Philippians 1:6).