I laid next to my sleeping husband and wondered if the next morning, Thanksgiving Day, he’d wake to find that I’d died during the night. My fear may have been exaggerated, but it wasn’t completely unreasonable. I ran a fever of over 102, and the number of white blood cells available to fight infection in my body was dangerously close to the number of hairs on my head: zero.
From the world’s perspective, I didn’t have much to be thankful for. I was stricken with a rare cancer, facing months of grueling treatment, bald, sick, fatigued, and scared.
And yet, these verses challenged my thinking:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Some days, I didn’t feel like rejoicing. Chemo made my mind too foggy to pray. I struggled to find reasons to give thanks.
With great relief, I noticed the scripture doesn’t say, “Give thanks for all circumstances.” God didn’t ask me to give thanks for cancer—in fact, I believe He hates cancer, along with all the effects of this fallen world. He asked me to give thanks in all circumstances, and then He graciously enabled me to do so.
Maybe this year, giving thanks is a challenge for you. I’ve been there, and I’m sorry for your pain. When our life is a mess, our future uncertain, or our hearts broken, how can we give thanks in those circumstances?
God doesn’t ask us to wear a fake smile and humor Him with a Pinterest-inspired thankfulness craft. He hears our cries for rescue, restoration, and relief from our suffering. Then the Lord gently lifts our tear-stained faces and shows us He is with us. He cares for us, He is at work, and He can be trusted in our trials. Our Heavenly Father lovingly reminds us that He is the reason we give thanks in all circumstances.
No matter what you face this week, the Lord gives you a reason to give thanks in all circumstances.