1 Thess 5:16-18 (NIV)
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Do you know anyone who has a perfect life? Do you know anyone who has it all figured out? Anyone breezing through the day without a care in the world? Neither do I.
Of course, even in this world of self-manipulated social media that allows us to paint the best possible picture of ourselves, but we know the truth. I might look great on Instagram or Linkedin, but as I write this, my electric outlets in the living room need replaced because they are old and can’t hold a plug. There’s a pan under my garbage disposal because it leaks when we use it. The gate fell off it’s hinges in my back yard. My hair is thinning at an alarming rate on the top of my head, yet I’m growing a small thicket in my nostrils.
I have issues with people at work. I have frustrations with family and friends. I have bills that need to be paid. In short, I have issues…And so do you.
Let’s face it, our lives aren’t perfect. Circumstances are not ideal. Just when things start to look good, there’s another hidden gem of a problem that needs our attention, our time, our money, or in most cases, all three. These are the times when we want to shout out in frustration.
But Paul invites us to look at life’s challenges a little differently. Rather than shout with anger, he invites us to pray in Thanksgiving. Instead of cursing the heavens, he encourages us to give Heaven thanks.
Sure, we have our problems, but God is bigger than them all. In the light of all the world’s issues and God’s unending love, why do our broken light switches, dead batteries, flat tires, or overdue medical bills really lead us to distraction so easily?
Paul asks us to give thanks, in every circumstance. I believe it is because there will always be a circumstance that can distract. There will always be an issue that will frustrate. There will always be a problem to solve and God is there through it all.
Life isn’t perfect. But God is…and what better reason to give thanks?
For family members who bless our lives with love and laughter, honesty and care, we give thanks.
For a season of beautiful color, electric sounds and tantalizing smells, we give thanks.
For friends who are present in good times and bad, who help make us the very best version of ourselves, we give thanks.
For freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, we give thanks.
For all these things, and so much more. We bless your name and with a grateful heart, we thank you, this day and all our days.