“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV).
There was this time that I was feeling so low; I didn’t feel a lot of hope and I had been terribly depressed. I was in a counseling group with some others and the physician in charge asked me, what was wrong. My answer was, “everything.” He looked across the room at me and said, almost matter of factly, “No, everything is not wrong. Tell us what is actually wrong.” I never forgot that, because he was absolutely right. I may have felt everything was terrible, but it wasn’t; not everything.
I’ve always had trouble with this verse. It comes in the same place where it says to rejoice, always. Right along with, “quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). This writer also said something that often caught my attention; although I couldn’t always seem to find the serenity he was talking about. He said, he had learned to be content; in whatever situation he was in. I am so glad, that he was honest enough to say, he had learned it. It tells me, he had not always been so accepting of everything. My human self, tells me that he was likely not content, when he was being stoned, or lashed forty times save one.
Holidays, are not always easy for a lot of people. Many do not have that happy home so many seem to be rushing to; they may have no family at all. But if we are going to recover from some of life’s ills, and grow into a stronger person, we will have to work on some issues that others may not have to confront. The truth is, you can’t always start saying, thank you Jesus, when you are being buffeted on all sides. It is not possible to be happy about the tragedies many are going through, or many of us have faced in our walk. But I have learned something; I’ve learned it the hard way, and I don’t always do it perfectly. When the enemy comes in like a flood, as soon as you catch your breath, start thanking God for what is right.
I was told once, to take a sheet of paper, and on one side, write down all of the things that were wrong; every last one. Then on the other side of the paper, make a list of everything that is right. Without fail, the list of all of the things that actually were right, was so much longer than those on the other side. Seeing it written down in black and white, makes it more real, and it can change our perspective of where we really are in all of it. After many years, some of us are just now being able to feel thankful for some of the low places of our lives; even things we have encountered recently. But I feel we should encourage someone, that it doesn’t always come in the middle of what you’re going through. Some things, take a great deal of time.
Not so long ago, while being under such a great deal of stress and a lot of sickness, I started doing something I had not really done before. I felt sick, down, tired and weary; but I just started it anyway.
I began to thank God that I could see; that I could hear, and smell, and taste and touch. Then I began to thank Him that I could walk, and talk, and sing and shout, that I could play the piano and type on this computer. I thanked him that I had a good mattress to sleep on, food, shelter, clothing, shoes, transportation, a little money coming in and that I was safe, and not on the street. I was just thanking Him for every “thing” I could think of; to include all the times He had forgiven me and for giving His life for me, that I could have hope and eternal life in peace.
Thanksgiving, expels much darkness. And to coin a line I’ve heard lately, it’s not over, until it’s over. Thank you God, for it all.