I was 6 months pregnant with my second child having anxiety attacks multiple times a week. I’d always been great at whatever I had chosen to do, but now, I was sitting in a house wondering how my husband and I were going to continue working in the situation we were. We were broken, were beat down, and we consistently felt like junk. Fast forward six years, I was pregnant with my fourth child, having moved my family across the country to work with a friend in what we thought would be a dream job for my husband. Instead of living the perceived dream, we were a family of 5 packed into a moldy, breaking down single wide trailer, about to bring my baby girl home to it. We had been lied to. We were broken, we were beat down.
In the middle of those situations, there was nothing that I was thankful for.
To tell me to be thankful in all situations, as I Thessalonians 5:18 suggests, was offensive.
As time went on from each situation, I Thessalonians 5:16-18 began to make more sense to me. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The situation is not necessarily what is God’s will for you. The rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks is His will. It is His will during the midst of all situations because rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks changes us. We may not always see the situation change, but the way we handle it, and the way we feel throughout it changes. Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks helps us to trust Him in the situation and allow Him to use it.
The only part of those verses that occurred during the middle of my circumstances was prayer. It was a lot of me crying for God to fix it. Although I didn’t rejoice and give thanks during these situations, I did as time went on and I saw how God used those situations to make my husband and me stronger. I saw how God used those situations to help others in broken situations. I saw how those broken situations brought hope to others in less than ideal circumstances.
I challenge you to look at all situations in your life as an opportunity to be thankful.
Find something that you can rejoice in and give thanks. Even the smallest of events, smiles by a friend, someone who listens, anything that brings even a glimpse of hope can be something to be thankful for.
God, thank you for how you love us, protect us, and guide us. Thank you that in all situations we can find something, even seemingly insignificant, to be thankful for. Thank you that we can always rejoice and be thankful for your love, protection, guidance, and grace. Teach us to rejoice, pray, and be thankful in all situations. Amen.