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1 THESSALONIANS: Giving Thanks

ThessaloniansIn this short letter, we have one of the most helpful and practical verses in all of Scripture: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).  We could almost get through anything in life simply by believing that verse.

Our lives are in His hands, He is completely sovereign, and everything that touches us is filtered through His love.  Therefore we can confidently give thanks regardless of our feelings, what happens, or how it affects our lives.  It may not be easy, but we can give thanks.  In His care we’re safe.

From Women of Faith Devotional Bible.  Copyright © 2003 (Thomas Nelson, Inc.)  Used by permission.

Comments

  1. Giving thanks for blessings of joy, like a new grandchild in your life, or for a raise in pay at your new job are easy. We know from whence these blessings flow. God is good to His children, and we know he wants us to have life, and to “have it more abundantly”.
    Those of us who have walked the Christian journey for many years understand and appreciate these blessings.
    But what about when we don’t receive these blessings? What if that dear new grandchild you so looked forward to adding to your family doesn’t make it into the world? What happens when the raise you were expecting goes to someone younger and less experienced?
    These are the times it is tough to see the hand of God working in our lives. Our faith is tested through small and large trials.
    Every family, including Christians, has their own particular burdens to bear, whether it be terminal illness, alcoholism, drug addictions, death of a loved one, or divorce, we are all plagued by traumatic situations this life sends our way.
    My family’s particular life burden has been three generations of diagnosed serious mental illness. Mental illnesses, unlike most illnesses, are little understood, much stigmatized brain disorders. Three out of four of my children have suffered these illnesses.
    In 1994, my beautiful, talented 12 year old daughter was hospitalized with suicidal depression. Two years later, my second child, a son, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. These two diagnosis so close together, were almost more than I could bear.
    Several years later, at the age of 28, my son with schizophrenia took his life. Six years following this tragic event, my daughter, 26 years, took her life, as well. My pain from these losses threatened to destroy me. With the love and prayers of friends and the support of a loving husband, I was eventually encouraged and strengthened to go on with life. Our youngest son was 17 at the time of his sister’s death. Our son, Aiden, had also been diagnosed with Schizo-Affective disorder, and was self medicating with street drugs and alcohol. The death of his sister hit Aiden particularly hard. He and his sister were very close.
    A year after he lost his sister, Aiden was arrested for a crime committed during psychosis (break from reality). He has been serving a 5 year sentence in the state penitentiary, with very little to no treatment for his many symptoms .
    “How much can one Mom’s heart handle?”, I cried out to God. At one point I even said to my Lord, “Why should I serve a God who allows these horrendous things to happen to me and my family?”
    It was at that time I felt His Holy presence. A warmth extended around me. I knew I was loved and I knew He was there for me. My faith has grown through these terrible tragedies. My marriage is stronger. My husband has suffered long and tirelessly, supporting me and crying with me through the pain and grief.
    Can I honestly be “thankful in all things”? Even these tragic circumstances? Let’s just say, I am working on it. My adult children who took their lives were raised in our home with Christian love and principles. Each of them were compassionate, loving, bright children. Each of them had accepted Christ as their Savior. I’m thankful for the fact that someday, we will all have a joyful family reunion. I’m thankful that these children, who suffered so much on this earth, are now healed and with their Savior. I’m extremely thankful that my husband and I are blessed with grandchildren who bring joy to our hearts. I’m also thankful that our youngest son has hope for recovery, despite his discouraging environment, through Christ who loves him.
    Am I thankful for the devastating trials life has handed me? I don’t know that I am ready to say that, yet. Am I thankful for blessings, big and small that my Father sends me each day? Oh, yes. God is good.