Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:16-18
Every time I read these verses, I am struck by the exhortation of Paul to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. There are times when this seems easy to do and there are times when this seems to be the last thing we want to do! As we look into these verses, specifically to give thanks in all circumstances, we can start to see that even in our circumstances there are things to be thankful for. Most of all, we can be thankful for the Lord Himself and that we can rejoice in Him. When Paul was imprisoned at different points for the Gospel, I’m sure there were many unpleasant circumstances that he was dealing with in his life. But it was through these things- rejoicing in the Lord, continually praying, and giving thanks- that Paul would lift his eyes to Jesus and know that the One who loved him was with him even through those circumstances. This reminded him of Jesus’ grace, maybe even when he couldn’t feel the Lord‘s presence.
These are good lessons for us today when sometimes we don’t necessarily sense the Lord‘s presence or when sometimes our circumstances seem difficult and we don’t see much to be grateful about. It is actually through doing these things- rejoicing in the Lord, continually praying, and giving thanks- that we can encourage our own hearts in the Lord and have eyes to see the gifts that He has given us. I think that’s why Paul pointed out that these things are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus because God knows we need to do them. So my friends, let’s be about these things!