Give Thanks in All Circumstances
1 Chronicles 16:8-12
8Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
9Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!
10Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!
12Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
- Sunday morning, I watched as The Church took over the internet. Social media abounded with churches who were sharing their worship experiences and we responded by watching. I saw one person say she was going to “binge watch” sermons all day long. Made me smile.
- A couple of the members of our congregation are calling our elderly members who don’t use computer, have access to the internet, or probably even an email address. They are responding with joy and relishing the new relationships that are growing over the phone with people they may have never even met before face-to-face. They report being excited about having those opportunities to meet one another after this whole thing is over and done with.
- We have a warm house, clothing to wear, food to eat, and access to the rest of you via the internet. The lights are still one, the water still flows, and there is food in the grocery store if we need it. And – I can wear sweatpants or even my PJs all day should I so choose – and who would be the wiser?!
- The Word of God is readily available to me and I can spend as much time as I want in study and prayer. More time than I’ve ever had before in my life.
- We can still go outside and breath fresh air, walk in the sunshine, and hear the birds – who live without care.
- We can marvel as we watch as the earth turns from winter into spring, and that is happening early this year! (Have you noticed that our weather has been blessedly calm? I think God is providing protection in a time of struggle.)
Our opportunities to be grateful remain as strong as our ability to truly examine our lives and see how God provides blessing upon blessing. We can choose to be stressed, bitter, angry, and afraid. While none of that helps one single bit, it certainly is easy to do. King David spoke these words, recorded for us in 1 Chronicles, when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem after being held captive by Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. The nation of Israel was emerging from a time of war and life was being restored to “normal.” (Speaking of “normal” – I am grateful that this is not our new “normal”. This time is one of adapting to the situation in which we find ourselves. Normal will return. It may take some time – but it will return and hopefully we will have learned a few things along the way. We can be grateful for what we will learn.) Reading between the lines, I believe that David true gratitude was with the fact that the Living God was sovereign over Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was indeed important. But more important was the relationship between God and His people. That was probably what I found so heartwarming on Sunday morning. Church buildings all over the country were closed. But The Church was strong and present with God on the Sabbath.
The Apostle Paul encourages this same attitude in one very short verse in his letter to the Thessalonians. …give thanks in all circumstances… I always like to point out, he doesn’t say for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. The difference is huge. I don’t have to thank God that one of my best friends (an RN on the front lines in the ICU) probably has the virus. But, I can thank God that her attitude is good and built by God Himself, for she knows that on the other side of this, she will be immune and better able to serve. That’s inspiring and I thank God for her! She is learning to give thanks in the circumstance.
So look at your life closely – and maybe even often. What appears on your list of things to be grateful for today? If you give it a minute, you’ll find yourself in a place of worship, just like King David.