Today, as I attempt to GIVE THANKS (as a child I always wondered why it wasn’t called, “GIVE THANKS-ING”) I realize this year was/is a doozy – and how much of it can I really be thankful for.
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I THESSALONIANS 5:13
I hear this quote often, from BELIEVERS & FOLLOWERS, and others. It’s used when facing adversity and sadness, sometimes, mistakenly. NOT because it isn’t right to thank God in all situations, but many people misinterpret what this scripture is saying and carry it beyond its meaning.
“Giving thanks IN everything” is not the same as “giving thanks FOR everything.” What Paul is saying here, in his letter back to the church at Thessalonica, is that DESPITE all the turmoil, poverty and evil that happens around us, and happens to us, we still have reason to give our thanks in all situations. We have reason to “sit in the seat of GRATITUDE and not ENTITLEMENT“. In other words, we live as if we know the end of the story…because we do. (“Everything will be alright in the end, if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”)
It’s almost the same as when people say, “there’s a reason for everything”, which is also a little misleading. Saying that “there’s a reason for everything” makes one think that there must be a “master plan” behind every horrible thing that happens to people…which is not quite accurate. THIS is more accurate: “God makes REASON out of chaos”, so “despite everything, God can turn the bad to good.”…and good CAN come from BAD SITUATIONS.
Thanksgiving Week is always the week that I pop in the “WHITE CHRISTMAS” movie, while decorating. There’s a great Irving Berlin song in the film (he wrote all the music for the film) called, “Count Your Blessings”. It has the line, “…when I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings…” What a great message.
For many, this holiday is a joyous and favorite. For many, the holidays bring the sad reminder that they don’t have family or friends, like they used to, to share the holidays with…some will not have a “feast”. This year especially, it’s different for everyone. The best thing we can do is “give thanks” in and during all times, and all seasons, the good and the bad…because WE KNOW THE END OF THE STORY; when all things are set right. And if times are bad, remember that God takes bad times and turns them to gold…”for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” He makes “reason” out of the “unreasonable” and turns hunger to feasting. He takes the orphan and adopts them into His own family.
This week, among many other things, I am thankful for your presence, your kind words, your friendship and your love,