Monday, March 7, 2016

Why Should I be Thankful?

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Life is full of surprises. Some good, some less good. You never know what will come next, and you never know how you will handle those things that do come. Sometimes you will go through incredibly difficult times, and sometimes you will go through incredibly wonderful times. But no matter what lies before you, you must always remember to give thanks to Him who created you.

"Why should I be thankful when everything in my life is falling apart?" some will ask. And while to some this seems like a very unthoughtful and rude question to ask, to others it is a genuine question that cannot be taken lightly. Why should you be thankful?

I am not going to say that you should be thankful because others have it worse. The tragedies of others do not lessen the sincerity of your own. However, you should be thankful because even in your hardships, you are blessed. You are so blessed.

No matter what your hardship is, you have the opportunity to serve a God who is perfect and loves us all (1 John 4:19). You have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and want the best for you (Galatians 6:10). And you have a Savior who loved you enough to die for you that you may spend an eternity in Paradise (Romans 4:24-25).

As a Christian, you cannot allow your hardships to cloud your blessings. You cannot lose sight of your blessings. How can you be a light to all the World, how can you show others that you love God if every time something goes wrong, no matter how painful, you forget everything He has done for you?

When you stop being thankful, you forget everything that has been done for you. While you may be upset, you must remember that you cannot allow sadness become a loss of faith in God. Being thankful will keep that from happening.

Another question that is often asked is "How can I stay thankful? How can I remember to be thankful when everything around me is falling apart?" This can be difficult, I admit. But Paul is a very good example of this. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 we can read of the hardships of Paul. We read of all the physical torment he went through. From being shipwrecked to being imprisoned, to be being beaten. Paul certainly went through a lot while he was here on earth.

But if you read in Philippians 4:11, a little while later Paul wrote, "I have learned in whatever
situation I am to be content." Paul, the apostle that was always getting hurt, that was always in trouble, that was always in prison, had learned to be content? How? Because in verse 13, a couple sentences later, he simply says "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."

What encouraging words these are! We hear them all the time, and yet when we hear them from a man who has been beaten, who has been on the run for his life, who has been shiprecked, hungry, thirsty, just about everything a human can go through, it makes the message that much more powerful. He was able to be content because he knew that God was and is always in control.

          How much more does that mean knowing that it came from such a man as Paul? In order to remain thankful, you must remember that you can always persevere through Christ, and without Him, you could do nothing.

          This world that we live in tells us that we should alway be getting more. If our lives are not ideal then it must mean that God is dead. But just because your life is not ideal, just because you may be having a difficult time, God is still there. If you hold fast you faith, if you continue to serve God, your trials may not end until death, but life on earth is a mere breath compared to eternity.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) If we have faith, no matter how hard our lives are, we can know that we will have eternal life.