Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
What is God’s will for me? This is likely a familiar question for many of us who read this verse! In my work as a spiritual companion, I’ve sat with many people from age 9 to 90 who earnestly and sometimes, desperately, want to know God’s will – “Which, what and where, Lord? Help me to find and follow You.” It is an admirable thing to seek God’s will but in the absence of clarity, it can become an awkward burden that we are not meant to carry.
We can’t always know God’s will but we can trust that there is power in living gratefully, something that places us in the middle of God’s will!
Two things come to mind as I consider Paul’s charge to give thanks in all circumstances. First is the reality that some circumstances are painful, scary or sad. How do we offer thanks for things that hurt? Secondly, how is a grateful heart cultivated? When life gets challenging how do I invite my soul to gratitude? I’m learning that both require a broader and more beautiful vision of our “here and now’s” and, ultimately, a more magnificent vision of God!
God wants to be our treasure! As He becomes more and more that priceless pearl – hidden in our circumstances – and, as we stumble our way into His love each day, our vision of life and God expands! Paul had come to understand that embedded in all of life is the potential to discover God as our treasure.
Life is about life but it’s also, profoundly, about God becoming irresistible to us!
Giving thanks in all circumstances affirms that God is good. It is an act of obedience and a posture of bowing before His will. It is a declaration that King Jesus rules – in ALL our “here and now’s”! It is a way that we offer our worship and demonstrate our love. It is God’s will for us.
Prayer of Response:
Thank you, Father, for who you are, all the time. Thank you, yes, even for the suffering seasons that have helped me to find you, a priceless pearl and treasure. Thank you for all the gifts of this life and for walking with me through all my circumstances. Thank you for being faithful, trustworthy and full of love! Amen.
—Submitted by Judy Villanueva
Judy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Spiritual Director. She has been married to her husband, Danny, for 40 years, has three married children and ten grandchildren. Her favorite pastimes include spending time with loved ones, sitting knee-to-knee in caring ministry spaces, writing, and hiking. https://www.listeningforlove.net