November 15, 2016

Give Thanks In The Midst of Circumstances

"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
I was looking through my son's old Bible studies this week, the ones I compiled when we first began homeschooling and I read this verse again. I've  always have had trouble wrapping my head around one part of these verses -- "give thanks in all circumstances." So as I was thinking about it, I prayed about it.
So here's how the conversation went in my head:
"God,  help me understand, because I've never been able to give thanks IN all circumstances."
"Notice, Dolores,  it does not say give thanks "for" all circumstances. It just says "in" all circumstances."
Suddenly the light bulb went on and this thought came to mind -- "Oh, so I can give thanks IN THE MIDST of (during) my circumstances, not necessarily FOR THE circumstances. Ah ha! So despite the fact that my beloved PT cruiser 2nd engine that was only a year old blew out a month or so ago and my husband's bank account was hi-jacked by a kid who loves to play computer games this weekend, I don't have to give thanks for those things, but I can still give thanks during this difficult time, right?"
Two years ago when I read Stephanie's ten years of blogging, I saved quotes she liked and things she wrote that spoke to me, I found one she had saved that fit this conversation by Albert Schweitzer who was a missionary in Africa. He said:
". . . our inner happiness depends NOT on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience."
So as I was coloring today for Kathy Racoosin's 30-Day-Coloring Challenge, I added this quote to the back of one of the four monthly dividers that I was working on as a reminder to  give thanks in all circumstances!

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"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28).