This is a verse I have struggled with since May 5th. The Lord has brought it to mind many times. “Give thanks, Lord? For this? I understand it’s your will, and I am choosing to trust that will, day-by-day in new and deeper ways. But give thanks, you can’t be serious!”
1st Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I truly believe, that it is only a grateful heart that has the faith to move forward. And gratitude gives birth to trust. So every time the Lord has brought this verse to mind, I would struggle to obey it. But it always ended in struggle and tears, and I would inevitably end up telling Him, “I’m sorry, I can’t, I just can’t. You’re asking too much. Maybe someday I will be able to thank you for this, but not today.”
Well, He brought it to mind again today, while I was putting on my make-up. “Why won’t You let this drop?” I muttered to myself. I went to my Bible and opened it, and read again and again, with tears streaming down my face, “give thanks in all circumstances.” And then I saw it for the first time! It says, “give thanks IN all circumstances.” It doesn’t say “give thanks FOR all circumstances.” I am not a Biblical scholar, so maybe in the original language there isn’t much difference between these two prepositions. But for me, today, there is a world of difference!
I don’t think God is asking me to thank him for Grant’s death. Nor to thank him for the gruesome way in which he died. I don’t think God is asking me to thank him that Grant died alone, without the love of his family surrounding him. God is a God of sorrows, He knows my pain. He has suffered in every way that I have suffered, and more. No, I do not think He is asking me to thank him for Grant’s death.
But I do believe there are things, even IN this circumstance, that I can be thankful for. That is what He wants me to see. Regardless of the road the Lord walks me down, even this one through the shadow of the valley of death, I have reasons to thank Him.
Lord, I am thankful that you are sustaining my faith through this, drawing me closer and more dependent on you thru this circumstance. I am thankful that I am learning to trust you even when I disagree and don’t understand. I am so thankful that this circumstance has loosened the grip of my affections for the things of this world and made me long for the things of your eternal Kingdom in a way I never knew was possible. I am thankful that you truly are a God that never leaves nor forsakes, but rather brings comfort and peace that transcends understanding. And I am sure as time moves forward more reasons for thanksgiving will be revealed.
Yes, Lord, I can see; because of who you are and because of what you’ve given me in Christ, there will always be reasons to give thanks, even in this circumstance…
As always, when I read your diary here I have no words of comfort or encouragement to convey. How does someone compliment another on expressing their pain and difficult journey so beautifully? And yet you are. I trust that there is a bigger picture here, people who are being helped and comforted by your words. That does not make excuse or give reason for your having to walk this ugly road but perhaps there can be a teensy, tiny (grain of sand-size) bit of peace knowing that your words and expressions here are like holding another momma’s hand as she experiences her heart break……………..Gosh I long for Jesus to come so we can no longer have pain, memories that make us cry as we smile and mundane chores to come between wholeness and peace. My love and prayers are with you. Perhaps we will see each other in person soon and I can give you a big, FAT, squishy hug. Would that I could carry this for you, I would. I’m sure we all wish we could take a turn for your family and relieve you of this anguish.
Of, Lisa…I would love a hug. I would love to give you a hug and tell you what your encouraging notes mean to me. They mean so much and I am always so touched by what you say. Love you friend. Hugs.
Alisa so beautifully said. It is so very difficult to give thanks in the midst of pain and sorrow yet that is what the Lord wants from us. Read Ann Voskamps book – One Thousand Gifts. She gives thanks for the simplest things in life. Once you begin doing it it comes so natural. Changes your while outlook on life. Love you so much and love seeing what God is doing in your life through this tragedy. Enjoy your time on the beach with God.
Judi, I love that book. Have read it twice and have been working on my grateful journal for over a year. Amazing book…one of my all time favorites. Hugs.