Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Give Thanks in All Things??? Serious?

In all things, give thanks . . .

be thankful, giving praise always . . .

offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Thank God in everything(no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks) for this is the will of god for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18)

Yikes! Give thanks . . .in ALL things?

And if that wasn’t enough, 'for this is the will of God for you'?!

Serious? I am to give thanks to God, no matter what my circumstances, and just to make it clear, this is His divine will for me?

This verse, and others like it, are so easy for me to stop and look at for a moment, rattle off some things I’m thankful for, get a warm fuzzy feeling, and then move on.

When I stop and really meditate, and the Holy Spirit begins to show me ‘thing’ after 'thing' that would actually be included in “ all things”, and that giving thanks in all those things is God’s will for me, now its not so easy to move on.

“Lord Jesus, are you serious? Do You know how hard that is? All things? Really? This is Your will for me?”
“Yes”, a resounding, Yes!

The Lord has been dealing with me on these verses here and there, gently for the past few years. Step by step I have seen Him reveal a little more, convict a little more, expect a little more. In light of all the recent struggles with my health, the loss of our baby, and just life in general, I am finding this 'command' very difficult at times. I also am finding that those times I do get the victory and praise and thank Him, healing and joy come flooding into my heart.

I do desire to ‘be thankful in all things’, which, by the way, is pretty easy in the things that feel good. Where it gets difficult is for those much harder things,
like when others hurt us,

when we are sick,

when our money is gone,

when our marriage is failing,

when our children wander away,

when our heart aches,

when loved ones die,

when someone is abused,

when God ‘seems’ so far away.

How do we possibly thank Him in the midst of these ‘hard’ things?
I certainly do not have all the answers, but here are a few things He has been teaching me.

* Most often times it is ‘by faith’ that we thank Him, not because we feel thankful. And more often than not, it is through tears and clenched teeth that I offer my sacrifice of thanksgiving.

* He is all wise! He knows far better than I what the whole picture looks like. I have to get to the place where I am convinced of His wisdom.

(I’m not suggesting some work of the flesh to believe in His wisdom. It is His work and He will do it.)

*God is love! Read it again. God is love. Perfect love. When I get a revelation of His deep and perfect love for me, I am not quite so thrown by the “things” that come into my life. This is a never ending process.
*God is completely and utterly sovereign. Absolutely nothing that comes into my life has not passed through His hands. This is a tough one for some to handle. They tend to think the devil can sneak one by on God. Not true!

I love how Hannah W. Smith words it:
“Second causes are powerless to act, except by God’s permission. And what He permits becomes really His arranging.” (The God of All Comfort)

I hesitate to share this because 7-10 years ago this would have sent me for a loop. The thought of God allowing or even sending something so seemingly harmful in my life was more than I could bear. It has become easier as I have grown in the knowledge of His wisdom, His love, and His absolute sovereignty.

If He is


loves me with and everlasting and eternal love,

is truly and completely sovereign and omnipotent,

can I not trust Him and obey His command to thank Him is all things?

*I have to be convinced that His Word is true. An If I believe that, then I can believe, certainly by faith, that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Ro. 8:28)

This is certainly not an exhaustive exposition on thanking God in all things, just what is on my heart today. This is a challenging concept for me, as I am sure for others. Isn’t the prospect of being able to thank and praise Him no matter what the world, the devil, the flesh throws at you or even what God allows, a glorious aspiration?

Do you struggle with 'thanking Him in all things'?

What verses or things can you share to help us in this journey to obey this command?
A book that has really encouraged me in the past is Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. God used it to give me such an understanding of His Wisdom, Love and Sovereignty.


Camille said...

It is challenging, but we are to give thanks IN everything...God IS Sovereign and it does take faith to put it into practice. Your devotional thoughts today are a blessing...hang in there Michelle! Remember that the Devil is going around seeking whom he may devour... BUT...Greater is He that is IN you than he that is in the world. We serve the Victorious One!

This reminds me of a story I heard of Corrie Ten Boom (remember her, the one who was hiding Jewish people and then put into a concentraion camp during the second world war)? Well, the barracks she was in with other women was infested with fleas. She was challenged with this very thought...give thanks EVEN for FLEAS?? They did...and then discovered later that the fleas is what kept the soldiers from coming in an molesting those ladies as was common place amongst the other women's barracks. Incredible story hey? :)


J said...

Can I just say, "Amen."

i am grateful to read your words affirming that ALL THINGS happen according to God's sovereign will...all things pass through His hands. It is so wonderful to belong to God, who is sovereign over ALL THINGS!

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a great blog....
I am a little late on the blog hop...bur glad to find you....Loved visiting your blog...I love the blog hops....
Be sure and stop by my Christmas blog...a great giveaway will be given away Sunday night....

Naturalearthfarm said...

I love the verse that goes something like - keep doing good because at some time God will reward you.... you know it may not be until we meet him, but God has a plan for each of us and even in the trying times, He is molding us just a bit more in His image.
Thanks for sharing so honestly.
Warm wishes.

Amy Jo said...

This is something I definitely need to be reminded of. No matter how big or small...

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Camille, I love that story! It is one of my favorites, and it came to mind just this week as I was encouraging myself to thank Him in all things.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

God does everything backwards, doesn't He? But the blessings are too numerous to count when we do give thanks in the hard trials that come.

Grandpa Noel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.