November 19, 2012

Give Thanks in Everything

There are verses in the Bible that I wonder about. They're not typically the big theological questions or gospel deeps but rather the simple, plainly worded commands: Be holy as I am holy; Love your enemies; Be joyful always; Die so you can live. Are these not among the most confounding truths in Scripture? Not because they are lofty ideals too difficult to understand, but because Scripture assumes they are livable commands, practiced daily by Christ's disciples. How can this become a reality in my life in the midst of laundry piles, lunch boxes, and to-do lists? How?
Perhaps the one I wonder how about most is this verse: Give thanks in all circumstances. This seems idealistic to me, a good idea rather than a command, a good goal rather than a daily reality.

I've confessed before that my tendency is to complain, but giving thanks in all circumstances goes way beyond not complaining. All circumstances encompasses, well, everything--pain, poverty, difficulties, misunderstandings, wounds, even death. Give thanks in all things? How can I possibly do this?

There is only one way, a way that has nothing really to do with us, with our circumstances, or our remembering to verbally say "Thank you, God" for whatever we are facing. 

The only way we can be thankful in all things is to know both that God is good and that He is sovereign. Because He is good, He can be trusted. Because He is sovereign, He is purposeful in what He does. Because He is both good and sovereign, He has a good design in what He does. If we doubt this, we will never be able to give Him thanks in all things.

I read in the Word about how He tucks His children under His wings and I imagine myself there, ducking in to take refuge from the worries and the pain that plague me. Even there, the rain continues to fall, the circumstances remain, but I am in a safe place where I can never be removed from His loving embrace. This is a sure thing and certainly means that there is never a circumstance that is outside of His reach or that is irredeemable. 

Isn't this what fuels our thanksgiving? This surety that covers all of our worst circumstances: the unending love and grace of our good Father. We can gather under His wide banner like little chicks under their mother's wing.

Surely, because of this, we can give thanks always.

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Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for Rose Marie Miller's new book, Nothing is Impossible with God! The winner is the reader who commented under Brokentoo. Congrats! 
Happy Thanksgiving!