“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 (NIV)
One of my earliest memories of things taught to me by my parents as a child was the importance of manners. Always say thank you. If someone gives you a gift or a kind word, say thank you. If someone does something nice for you, say thank you. My mom went one step further and had us kids write thank-you notes, too. She taught us that if a person takes time out of their day to do something nice for you, then the very least you can do is show gratitude in return.
Many years ago, I heard a sermon on gratitude, saying thank you in good times and the not-so-good times. I was in my twenties when I heard that sermon. At that age, that concept was difficult for me to wrap my head around. Why would I want to thank Him for bad times? How does a person go about doing that? Although I did not understand it then, as my faith and growth in Christ matured, it made sense to me.
A few years after hearing that sermon, I saw the importance of thanking Christ in all things. I went through an insurmountable amount of grief at a young age, and it was during this time that my faith grew. People would ask me, aren’t you angry with God? I could honestly say no. Did I understand why my life was turned upside down? No, but turning to Him in my time of need showed me He had a plan for me. Something bigger and better than I could ever imagine. Did that happen right away? Of course not. But I learned to put my trust in Him in all things. In studying scripture, I found the importance of gratitude in my life. God calls us to a life of continual thankfulness. Colossians 3:15 (ESV) says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” It’s His will for us to thank Him for everything.
Don’t ever be afraid to thank Him when times get hard. Think of it as having a conversation with your best friend. Doesn’t it feel good when you tell your friend about difficult things you’re going through? Isn’t it a relief to get those things out in the open? Think about Christ as your best friend because that is what He wants to be. Talk to Him, pour your heart out, and don’t forget to Thank Him for everything.
Something that I do to help myself through difficult times is to write Jesus a letter in my journal. It helps to write down my feelings, thoughts, and gratitude. I am nothing without my relationship with Him. I encourage you to find your own way of communicating to Him your gratitude for all He does.
Dear Jesus, thank You for your insight and plan for our lives. Thank You for the teaching of giving thanks to You in all circumstances. Show us the importance of these things in Your Word that we may learn and tell others so they may come to You in a life of thankfulness and gratitude. In Your name, Amen.
Written by: Laurie Davis