It’s easy to complain and look for the negative. Sometimes, we get so accustomed to complaining that it simply becomes a habit. However, God’s Word tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – Thessalonians 5:16-18
Wow. That’s a tall order.
The truth is, however, when you think about it, there is probably something to be thankful for in all circumstances. My parents were divorced and both remarried when I was just a toddler. Divorce is not God’s perfect plan and I would have enjoyed growing up in an intact home. However, if my parents hadn’t divorced, I would never have known my second dad. My step-dad was a good man and I know he loved me. And, I loved him.
He died of cancer in 2001. This was not the answer to our prayers. However, he was saved a few months before he passed away. That was a huge prayer answered. He touched many lives in the short time he was a Christian. I’m thankful for that, too. I am thankful that he is in heaven, whole and healthy.
I remember hearing a story in church when I was a young teenager. It was about some Christian women who were thrown into prison, persecuted for their faith. I don’t remember the time period or the details. I just remember that, according to the story, there were fleas that tormented these women. They could find nothing to be about being in a dank, dark, prison cell, covered in fleas to be thankful for, but they gave thanks anyway.
It turns out that the guards hated the fleas, so they only came to where the women were when they just had to, leaving the women free to talk openly about their faith, to pray and, generally, to be safe in an otherwise unsafe situation.
Can you imagine how your outlook on life would change, if you chose to be thankful in all situations? If you chose not to allow your circumstances to determine your attitude, but rather your attitude to determine your circumstances?
We don’t always understand God’s plan, but we can rest in the knowledge that He loves us and has a plan for our lives. And, we can look for the good in our circumstances and thank God, even when there may not appear to be much for which to be thankful.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11