Dear Friends and Family,
Have you noticed that there are certain Scriptures which are very palatable? They go down smooth as ice cream. Conversely, some of God’s Words seems to be like a dose of Cod Liver Oil . . . . hard to swallow!!! I’m sure you’ve also discovered that we can’t pick and choose which Scriptures we want to apply to our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” With this in mind, please explore with me a Scripture that has been a personal challenge to me for a long time. . . . in other words, hard to swallow.
I Thess. 5:18 instructs us thusly: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Now let’s play “honest Indian”. (No slur intended.) Isn’t it easy to give God thanks for that job promotion, the birth of that healthy child or some miraculous physical healing? Do prayers of thanksgiving flow glibly out of your mouth when you’re flat on your back in the hospital, you’re facing a lay-off or a loved one leaves you? Perhaps we’re having a problem with this particular Scripture because we don’t fully understand it and its ramifications.
Firstly, it says in everything give thanks, not for everything. We can confidently apply this Word to areas of our lives because we know that Our Heavenly Father is the Miraculous and Mighty Provider in our lives. We know that He is all-powerful and that NOTHING is impossible for Him. (Luke 1:37) There is another reason we can be comfortable with the Scripture. I believe that the everything in 1 Thess. 5:18 is interchangeable with the all things found in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This tells me that God can take All the happenings in our lives, both good and bad, and fashion the outcome to be a blessing to us. Joseph is an excellent Biblical example. As you know, he was cast into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully accused of rape and put into prison. God took all these circumstances and wove them together. The finished tapestry featured Joseph as the second most powerful man in Egypt with the ability to save his family from starvation. (Genesis Chapters 37-42)
Well Folks, don’t get me wrong. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to look adversity in the eye and immediately praise God and give Him thanks. This is because our finite minds can’t figure out how God can take the mess we are in and make something beautiful. Well, don’t trouble yourself trying to figure it out; just remember that “We walk by FAITH and not by sight”. (2Cor. 5:7)) When we demonstrate our faith by acting on His Word, God can then get into action on our behalf.
Have a blessing and be a blessing,