The Reach of Our Thanksgiving


God brings or allows pain and hardship in our lives for His good purposes and glory.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Have you ever noticed that the Bible contains some very brief commands, yet gives no explanation about how to carry them out? We know that Scripture contains everything we need in order to obey God. Yet sometimes we have to search additional passages for further instructions. For instance, verse 18 in today’s passage simply says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Now that’s a very tall command! We’re all quick to thank the Lord for blessings, such as a new baby, home, or job, but what about illness, heartache, difficulty, or loss? How can we possibly be grateful for these? The answer is, we can’t—unless we recognize that God brings or allows pain and hardship in our lives for His good purposes and glory.

Joseph is an example of this truth. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery, yet God used his difficult situation to save the lives of many people, including those very brothers (Gen. 50:20). When we choose gratitude instead of bitterness, blame, or anger, we’re acknowledging that the Lord is good even when circumstances are not.

Are you dealing with a situation that is tempting you to question God’s love and goodness? Have you wondered why He would allow such suffering or difficulty in your life? There are many things we will never be able to understand this side of heaven, but here is one truth we can know with certainty: Our God is good. What’s more, His purposes are good, and He has promised to be with us in every circumstance. When we believe this, we can give thanks in everything.

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