“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(Excerpts from a devotional I submitted to my church for its “21 Psalms of Thanksgiving”….)
Let’s begin with this declarative statement: it can be a challenge to give thanks in all circumstances we encounter. It’s not an impossibility but it is definitely a challenge as we are accustomed to thanking when something good or positive happens to us….
But when the promotion goes to someone else or the job is downsized, we don’t receive the award, or the door is closed in our face as soon as we get to the door (literally and figuratively) – how are we expected to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks? When disappointment knocks us back or tragedy strikes us down, how can we do this? More importantly, why should we do this?
The answer is found in the life we live in the power of the Holy Spirit. This power creates a solidified joy that is not dependent on feeling good when something good happens to us. In the tough and uncomfortable times, the Holy Spirit keeps our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Coupled with continuous prayer which ensures that all we do is done with a sense of God’s presence, giving thanks in the midst of our circumstances—in the midst of “adulting”—becomes less of a challenge and more of an instinct. With regular practice in all situations, the “more” transforms into a definite instinctive response.
~~~Personally, 2020 has provided opportunities to practice “rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances“, as recently as this week. Not gonna lie, it has been challenging. But like the song goes, “When I look around and I think things over / all of my good days out-way my bad days / I won’t complain.” Throughout this year, the Lord has truly been good, IS good, and will forever BE good. Throughout this year, Jesus has let me know that He IS here, and ain’t going anywhere. Where He is, there is peace, love, unity, and purpose.
I’m still practicing, y’all, but I know giving thanks in all circumstances will become an instinctive response for me, as it will for you. I wish each of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Don’t let the “itis” get you too badly.
Prayer: Lord, you’ve heard us say many a time that “2020 has been an unprecedented year”, or “Can we start over? Because 2020 ain’t working out too good.” But through it all, You have been the one true constant in our lives, showing us that You are faithful and be trusted, showing that You love us and will never leave us. It is my prayer that we become more instinctive in our response to all circumstances – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I pray that we rejoice no matter what, pray like there is no tomorrow, and give thanks to You for above all, simply being You. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.