Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
Giving Thanks in Adversity
May God bless you all!
How can we give thanks when so much seems to be going wrong?
No matter how much Scripture you quote, unless you are willing to give thanks, you will always see the adversities that surround you as overpowering, and instead of being open to the grace of God, you will become open to bitterness. The people with the most powerful testimonies and sweetness in their lives, as seen by others, are those who have gone through the fire, but have given thanks while doing so.
Once the neighbor's tree (a medium size oak) fell on our carport, crushed it, and did some damaged to two of our vehicles. The carport was a total loss. The one older vehicle was not covered by insurance, and until then, the other car had never had a scratch on it. The neighbor knew the tree was weak and had promised several times to get someone to come and cut it down. As I was driving home from work after I got the call, I started reflecting on numerous things: deductibles, cleanup, rebuilding costs, loss of the vehicles while they were being fixed, glad that MY CAR was not under the carport . . . glad no one was hurt, etc. But none of those things gave me a thankful heart.
About halfway home I started to reflect directly on God Himself. His mercy, His grace, His holiness, His purpose for us, His callings, His church, and as I spent time thinking about Him, thankfulness began to work its way into my heart, and I could sense His presence with me. It was then that I was able to pray out loud, "Thank You, Lord." By the way, I know the carport "disaster" is nothing compared with what some of you are going through.
The secret - which is really no secret at all - is where our focus is. Mind you - we need to be aware of the evils around us, and when illness, relationship problems, or loss of any kind strikes, we need to act and respond to those problems, but while we do so - we need to keep our focus on God.
Look at these verses - the words may say to do something - but they all cause us to reflect on God's character, or God's gifts to us, or God's acts towards us (bold added):
"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known
among the people" (1 Chronicles 16:8).
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for
forever" (1 Chronicles 16:34).
"Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of
" (Psalm 30:4).
"To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, A Psalm
Song of Asaph. Unto thee, O
God, do we give thanks,
do we give thanks: for
thy name is near
thy wondrous works
declare" (Psalm 75:1).
"So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks forever: we will show forth
to all generations" (Psalm 79:13).
"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD;
forever" (Psalm 106:1).
"At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of
"Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy names: the upright shall dwell in
" (Psalm 119:62).
" (Psalm 140:13).
"But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
which art, and wast, and
art to come;
because thou hast taken to thee
thy great power,
" (Revelation 11:17).
Knowing all this, Beloved, I hope that giving thanks to God will be a little easier next time you are blindsided with an adversity or forced to endure a longstanding affliction or problem.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
" (1 Thessalonians 5:18; bold added).