In I Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” There are moments in each of our lives when we read these words and inwardly roll our eyes. “Give thanks in all circumstances?
Really? How do we give thanks when the doctor’s news seems devastating? How do we give thanks when there are more bills than paycheck?
How do we give thanks when our hearts ache for those who have gone before us? How do we give thanks when we are feeling lost, lonely, tired or overwhelmed?”
As Christians, we trust that God is always present. We have faith that God will bring blessings even out of pain, hurt, and confusion. In Romans 8:28, Paul affirms, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.” We can give thanks because we know that we are never alone in our weakness or sufferings.
As we grow in our discipleship we learn that we can give thanks for those troubles which teach us the art of endurance. We can give thanks for those moments of doubt when all we have to lean on is our faith; for pain which helps us to appreciate joy; for suffering which leads us to the heart of God.
We give thanks for all facets of life for it is in the ordinary that we learn to see God. We are called, as followers of Jesus Christ, to be a light shining in the darkness, a beacon of hope for a hurting world, reminding people of the goodness of God in spite of the sometimes harsh realities of life. This Thanksgiving give thanks to God for the blessings in your life, even in the face of difficulty.
Chapel Hill UMC sits along State Route 13.
White is a pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church