“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).”
God’s word encourages us “in everything give thanks”. How is that possible? It is if you understand what He’s saying. Notice His word doesn’t say, “for all things, give thanks” but “in all things”.
There will be situations, positions, places, times or states of being that you find yourself and the word of God is saying be grateful in it, be thankful in it, because that thing has been determined to be for God’s purpose and it will be done.
God is not telling us to be thankful for all of the challenges, heartaches and difficulties we face but to be thankful no matter what knowing it’s all in His hands. It is when you place your focus on Him that you can understand and render these kind of heartfelt thanks.
These are scary times yet we have so much to be thankful for; so the next time you bow your head in prayer thank God for things being as well as they are. Thank Him for shelter, for the privilege of prayer, for watching over us and keeping us safe, for giving us guidance, for food, for clothing, for family, for children and grandchildren, for those who are out there everyday fighting every day for our safety ensuring that we have what we need, for those on the front lines, for the essential workers, all of our medical personnel, our mailmen and women, our store clerks, garbage collectors, maintenance workers, pharmacists, energy employees, transit workers, critical manufacturing companies, (you fill in the blanks). Things are tough right now but it’s going to be all right. So… Be thankful!
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:37-39).”
There are things we do “just in case”. For example; we create wills to tell where our assets should go in the case of our death, we create living wills if we should become incapacitated and unable to speak for ourselves, we buy life insurance to ensure there are resources for those left behind, we build contact lists so we know who to call in specific situations, some build shelters in case of inclement weather or potential war. We do a lot of things to make sure things are in order especially in unforeseen circumstances. And just like all of these things are important, reading and studying God’s word is equally important as well.
The word of God is there to bring reassurance, to bring light, to bring comfort when life is dark and unexplainable. In His word we learn the very nature of God and how much He cares for us. In Him there is not only comfort but also sufficiency because even when things are out of whack, when life gets turned upside down, when nothing is making sense, His Spirit calms the fear and the storms that rage inside of us. His word is the anchor for our soul.
So make sure that He is a part of your “just in case”.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalm 46:1-7).”
We have not been forsaken. In the middle of trying times, in the middle of the unknown, in the middle of pain God is speaking and He is saying, hold onto hope.
God, the Almighty’s ears are attentive to our cries and though events seek to shake us we must count on the power of God, which will prevent us from growing faint. That is what the psalmist is saying; God is our helper, it is His power that will keep you and shelter you even when surrounded by an enemy seeking to devour you. He is saying don’t fret in the things you can’t control but trust God to see you through!
The Lord is in the midst of us; He is our refuge and strength!!
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).”
To say the last few weeks have been filled with the influx of an over abundance of information is an understatement. Political leaders, medical professionals, and experts with knowledge of the ongoing pandemic is enough to make one’s head spin causing anxiety and panic. When will it all end, how do we make it stop? We have no control over the onslaught of reporting but how much you choose to listen to is up to you. Yet in the midst of it all, God offers peace.
Listening to the various reports every day over and over again is distressing. God encourages us to hear His word because His word is where peace is found. It doesn’t mean that things will miraculously disappear but what you hear doesn’t have to consume you.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you; “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world John 16:33).”
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built (Luke 6:46-48).”
Here in the gospel of Luke Jesus is teaching of the importance of having the proper foundation when trouble comes. He uses the illustration of home building indicating that if you want a house that can withstand a storm it must be firmly built to withstand inclement weather.
Jesus is not only speaking of home building but of something of greater importance and that is having a firm spiritual foundation. If you’ve ever built a home then you know the builder starts with a blueprint of what the structure will look like when complete but it will require certain steps to get there. This also applies to building a sturdy spiritual foundation. When your spiritual house is well built you will not fold in the midst of adversity. A good spiritual foundation is built on love (loving God first), trust (doing what God commands), and devotion to God (spending time with Him daily).
It is the one who will stand against adversity and exercise confidence knowing that you will not suffer destruction because the Lord will keep you firmly grounded. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock (Matthew 7:24).