"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I've had a friend and a pastor's wife both talk about this very verse to me in the past week...ok, our pastor's wife wasn't talking to just me, she was talking to the whole congregation, but she did mention me during her message and it got my attention. Both her message and my friend's ministered to me deeply.
In this scripture, we are told to be thankful in all circumstances...not for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. I have always read this wrong, thinking that I should be thankful "for" all circumstances, and I always struggled with it. Especially during the really dark times. Really? I'm supposed to be thankful about my divorce? (I know some people are, but I wasn't). Am I really supposed to be thankful in my singleness and times of intense loneliness and hopelessness? Either God was nuts or I just didn't have the faith to be thankful they way His Word said I should be. And since I knew that God was not nuts, then the latter must have been true. I didn't have the faith to see things the way I thought I should.
But now I get it...thanks to these two people and the message that God strategically gave me through them, I get it. I get the "in". Even during the bad times, especially during the bad times, I can be thankful for who God is, thankful that He loves me enough to walk through it with me, thankful for His compassion during my suffering, and thankful for His promise that He will work all things out for good. Because of this, I can be thankful in all circumstances.
In all circumstances.
In all circumstances.
One of the ways that Dictionary.com defines circumstance is this: an unessential or secondary accompaniment of any fact or event; minor detail: "The author dwells on circumstances rather than essentials."
How often do I dwell on circumstances rather than essentials?! Circumstances...the temporary seasons of my life that truly are secondary to the real reason that I am here...to glorify God and fulfill His purpose in my life. My circumstances are minor details to God in view of eternity. Not that He doesn't care about what I go through, He does. Very much. Sometimes much more than I do. But they are not the essentials and are not to be focused on. They are mere threads in the tapestry that God is weaving in my life. He's weaving one in yours too. And if we focus on the threads on the back, they look like a jumbled mess. We think to ourselves, there is no way that something beautiful can come out of this! But when we turn it over and see it from God's perspective, we see something quite extraordinary. We see how each of the threads - every experience, every trial - was used by the Master to create something amazing. Something that will draw us to Himself...beginning with me. And you.
And for that I am very, very thankful!