Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Do You Mean Give Thanks in All Circumstances?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thess. 5:16-18)

This brief sentence from Paul's letter to the young Church in Thessalonica is quite clear on what we should do as Christians, ALWAYS rejoice! Pray WITHOUT CEASING! Give thanks in ALL Circumstances. And why? It is the will of God for YOU! All circumstances means all circumstances even when bad things happen. Always rejoicing means in every circumstance, good and bad, rejoice! What does pray without ceasing mean.? We are to pray 24/7! How can we do this authentically? Once we realize all things are under God's dominion, then we know all things are for our benefit working towards God 's divine purpose.

A lesson can be learned from Joseph, the son of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of his brother. He dreamed dreams and had his father’s favor. So they plotted to kill him only to have an opportunity to sell him into slavery and get some cash out of the deal. Joseph was sold again to Potiphar who saw how gifted Joseph was and made him an overseer of his house. Potiphar’s wife saw how handsome he was and wanted to be intimate with him which Joseph refused. This caused her to level false allegations against him and he was jailed! Now while in prison Joseph still interprets the dreams of others. And later when Pharaoh has some disturbing dreams he sends for Joseph who interprets them. Pharaoh, impressed with Joseph’s wisdom sets him over his land. Joseph saves up the grain knowing there is a coming famine.

It was during this famine that Joseph’s brothers sought relief in Egypt. They did not recognize their brother whom they betrayed. After some time of ascertaining that his father was alive, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and invited them to come to Egypt for relief. Now the brothers feared retribution. They went to Joseph admitting their sorrow for what they had done. And this was Joseph’s reply, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20) In the end, the family of Israel was saved from famine to guarantee His promises.

When we see our lives as the unfolding of God’s plan, then we can rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances. This does mean we deny our pain when we have been hurt by others or don’t grieve over loss and disappointments. As we mature spiritually, we grow to see how our trials are meant for the maturing of our soul! And we see how the circumstances of our life are just a weigh station to our future glory. (I Pt. 3: