I'm thankful for...
(Written for The Round Farmhouse Ministries and published on 01 November 2023.)
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT ~
Over the past 5 years, I have navigated through some very deep, extremely dark valleys, as well as over some sunny peaks along the way. Trials that have made me question and heartache that has given me pause; circumstances that have left me raw and hurting, incredibly sad and grieving all threatened to overwhelm me.
Many times, I would ask God why? But, as I drew closer to the Lord in prayer, I discovered that those times of anguish and sorrow were not meant to break me, but indeed to strengthen me. When I looked closely at each circumstance, dug deeper into the root of the pain, and even deeper into His Word, I began to understand each small lesson and find a way toward the peaks awaiting me on the other side.
"𝑩𝙚 𝙩𝒉𝙖𝒏𝙠𝒇𝙪𝒍..." seems impossible to us when times are tough. When we give in to self-pity, we can often let negative feelings take control. But, as Paul taught, we can be thankful that God's grace is sufficient to sustain us in every circumstance. "𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐬: “𝐌𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐤.” 𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧, 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬, 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭'𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐞." 𝟐 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝟏𝟐:𝟗 (𝐆𝐍𝐓) Paul knew that his strength came from leaning into God.
"𝙞𝒏..." is such a tiny word that changes everything! When Paul spoke to those Thessalonian believers, he reminded them (and us) that regardless of how difficult circumstances may become, we can find reasons to thank God; even in the most dire of situations. As opposed to "for", which finds us thanking the Lord for only the goodness and gifts in our lives, "in" requires us to remain immersed in our relationship with the Lord, and through prayer, abide deep in daily conversation with Him. When we continually dialogue with Him, we'll begin to notice that as we lay out the hardships and trials we're suffering, reasons to give thanks will become visible. "𝐈𝐧 𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐤, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐮𝐬. 𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞, 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬." 𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝟖:𝟐𝟔 (𝐂𝐄𝐕)
"𝙖𝒍𝙡 𝙘𝒊𝙧𝒄𝙪𝒎𝙨𝒕𝙖𝒏𝙘𝒆𝙨,..." regardless of what situation we may face, Paul reminds us that these circumstances will prove the authenticity of our faith and as Peter assured us about our dark seasons, "𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐬𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐮𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐡—𝐨𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐠𝐨𝐥𝐝, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐞—𝐦𝐚𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞, 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐝." 𝟏 𝐏𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏:𝟕 (𝐍𝐈𝐕)
"𝒇𝙤𝒓 𝒕𝙝𝒊𝙨 𝙞𝒔 𝑮𝙤𝒅'𝒔 𝒘𝙞𝒍𝙡 𝙛𝒐𝙧 𝙮𝒐𝙪 𝙬𝒉𝙤 𝙗𝒆𝙡𝒐𝙣𝒈 𝒕𝙤 𝘾𝒉𝙧𝒊𝙨𝒕 𝑱𝙚𝒔𝙪𝒔." There is nothing more wonderful than for us to rejoice in God's plan for us, unique to each one, yet collectively as His children, "𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦." 𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝟖:𝟐𝟖 (𝐍𝐋𝐓)
Father God, My prayer for us today is that we draw close to You, walk with You each day, and through You, find ways to be thankful even in times of hardship. I pray that with grateful hearts, we recognize Your hidden gifts and abundant blessings in every circumstance.
In Jesus name, Amen