Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thes. 5:18 (emphasis added, NIV84)
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Eph. 5:20 (emphasis added, NIV84)
Ah, yes, it is that time of year again to focus on being thankful. I am truly grateful for this time of year, as it calls us to reconsider and refocus on what we are truly grateful for. With thankfulness in mind, perhaps you have heard the above two verses, but never together? Perhaps you have heard it taught from 1 Thes. 5:18 that we are to be “thankful in all circumstances” but not for all circumstances. I heard it again about a year ago….
But if this is so, then how does Eph. 5:20 fit into the “thanksgiving” framework? As you can clearly see from the “emphasized” “for”, we are to be thankful for every “thing”, and this clearly is “everything”. We are to be thankful not just for our food, our clothes, and our families, etc., but we are to be thankful for our circumstances, too. “For” them….
Why do you suppose the Lord is teaching us this? Perhaps one suggestion is: “Since He is working all things out for the good, I can be thankful for this hard, unpleasant—and rather difficult—circumstance knowing that the Lord is working even this out for the Good”? What do you think? Is this a viable observation?
If so, then allow me to share a thought from Emily E. Ryan’s Devotion from September 3, 2023, in Mornings with Jesus. She writes this:
…I recently realized that I not only name my weather-related storms, but I also name the storms in my life. I’ve survived Hurricane Miscarriage, Tropical Storm Unemployment, and many others. But what if I stopped naming my storms and started naming my rainbows instead? The Bible Says that Jesus created the rainbow to be a reminder of His covenant with us. … Within that promise is also a reminder that the storms of life do not have the power to destroy us. They may cause damage but even in their destruction they leave room for Jesus to step in and provide, teach, comfort, or save. If I stay focused on Him, I will always find rainbows at the end of my storms.
Join me in naming our rainbows, even before the stormy circumstances are over, because I know I can always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus.”
Join me in the Naming Process,