Holidays can be hard. When we’re in the middle of troubled times (the storms of life), it’s not a time for being thankful for the circumstances we’re in.
Then, why does Paul tell us to be thankful in this I Thessalonians verse? Doesn’t he understand?
James, the brother of Jesus, said basically the same thing. In James 1:2, he said, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come our way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
What? Joy? Great joy, even…
Many are facing troubled times during these economic times. Others may be experiencing health problems, issues with family, stresses at work, and the list could go on and on. If you are in one of these categories, it’s not a category to you. It’s real. It’s your life. How can you be thankful about that?
Paul understood times of trouble, because he spent much of his time in prison for standing firm in his faith. He wrote these words in a letter (sent through Timothy) to encourage the young believers in Thessalonica. What Paul said was to be thankful in our circumstances, not for our circumstances.
God doesn’t cause our hard times, but for the believer, He is there with us in those circumstances. Evil doesn’t come from God. We can be thankful for God’s presence through the tough stuff – for the good He will bring out of it.
When I remember tough times and see, on this side of the situation, all that God taught me through those circumstances, I wouldn’t choose to change them. Usually, the greater the trouble, the bigger He works in us – if we are open to Him. It requires us to be receptive and seeking relationship through prayer and reading His word – not necessarily our first reaction in times of trouble.
Could it be that when you look back on tough times (perhaps later, looking back to today, if that applies), you’ll see all that you experienced with God in those times and never want to undo it? That is the joy that James speaks of in James 1:2.
James tells us to consider it great joy to be in those hard times for the hope we have in Christ – and how He will reveal Himself to us through it. We experience Him in new ways with every circumstance where He is involved.
Are you having trouble being thankful this week? Maybe, with a change of a tiny word, you can be thankful in it, not for it. God will show Himself to you. I hope you see Him show out – big-time!
I am grieving today for those who don’t know Christ – those who are having trouble in life and feeling despair. If you would like for me to pray for you, feel free to share with me through my contact page. It will be kept confidential.
In our circumstances, good or bad, we thank Him today for a Spectacular Sunday. Have a thankful “Thanksgiving week”, y’all!