The Bible gives us a lot of instruction. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of all the guidelines, recommendations and commandments that are contained within that one book. God has given us clear expectations about how we are to react or behave in a variety of scenarios. By reading the Bible we can understand the shape that our lives should begin to take as we follow God. The way we interact with the world and the way we cope with the things we experience through our lives are described to us in His word. But what happens when you just can’t manage to be that person? The one who embodies the very heart of Christ in all situations? What then?
1st Thessalonians 5:18 tells us ‘to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Jesus Christ’.
I’m not thankful for my circumstance right now. I’m just not. It’s incredibly hard to be thankful for a circumstance that just down right sucks. It’s challenging to say ‘thank you’ for something that you never wanted to be a part of, something that leaves you and those around you broken and devastated. It’s been 814 days since our first miscarriage and 699 days since our second. It’s been 406 days since our third miscarriage and 322 days since the fourth. It’s been 19 days since our son, Samuel, was born sleeping at 15 weeks.
And I’m still not thankful for any of those circumstances. As a matter of fact I’m not happy about it, at all. I’m confused, I’m hurt, I feel lost and directionless, I miss each and every one of them and all the hopes and dreams that went to Heaven with them. So, how do we continue to strive towards obedience, to take the shape described for us, when we don’t feel thankful for circumstances? When the situation that we’re in leaves us feeling about as far from thankful as we can get?
1st Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t say that we have to be thankful for that disaster that has seemingly stolen everything from us. But it is important to give thanks. Even if for the moment, the only thing you can tell the Lord thank you for is the very breath that is left in you; thank Him for that! Lord, everything around me has crumbled, I am broken beyond what I think can be repaired, but I still have breath in my body, Thank you for that breath.
Thank Him as often as you can for the things that you can say thanks about! I can thank Him for the unwavering support of my husband, who has endured each heartbreak right along with me. I can thank Him for the friends and family who have surrounded us with love and comfort, kind words and support. I can say ‘thank you’ for the two children who somehow miraculously made it into our lives. I can say thank you Lord for the roof over my head, for the shoes on my feet, for the food in my belly. We may not be thankful for the raging storm around us, and we don’t have to be! But we do need to not lose sight of the things that we can be thankful for.
We can be thankful in all circumstances by having a heart of thanks. Even shattered, broken hearts, can be thankful hearts. And sometimes, by finding just one thing to be thankful for, we can also find a little bit of joy in that one thing. That little bit of joy can lead to a spark of happiness and that happiness into healing for a broken heart. So wherever you are today, whatever circumstance you are in, look around you, find that one thing you can be thankful for today. No matter how big or little it is, and tell Him ‘Thank you’.