Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Thessalonians 5:18)
What is God’s will for me? This is likely a familiar question for many of us who love Jesus. 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, a practice 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 and sad. How do we offer thanks for things that hurt? Secondly, 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 nows” and, ultimately, a more magnificent vision of God!
God wants to be our treasure and, as He becomes more and more that priceless pearl —hidden in our circumstances — our vision of life and God expands! Paul understood that embedded in all of life is the potential to discover that God is here and He is what we most deeply need.
Giving thanks in all circumstances is an act of faith! It is the way we train our hearts to see beyond our circumstances to the God who holds our circumstances.
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. Amen.”
Questions to Ponder?
- For what do you feel grateful today? Practice quieting yourself and giving thanks. It’s the way we cultivate awareness.
- What do you do when it’s hard to give thanks? Sometimes it helps to call a friend who can be present and pray.
- Is God becoming your treasure? “Open our eyes, Lord, and help us to find you today!”
—Submitted by Judy Villanueva
Judy lives with her husband in Colorado, near the kids and grands. She completed her masters at Fuller Theological Seminary, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Spiritual Director, and writer. Her Bible reflections can be found at listeningforlove.net)