Previously I argued that God’s will is not a dot but rather a field with some boundaries that you should not cross. I should like to add that while we sheep are enjoying this field, God does have a will for us and sometimes it has to do with what we should do rather than what we should not do.
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 HCSB)
Do you want to know God’s will? This is God’s will for you. I can say that with confidence because “it is written”. This is God’s will for all Christians everywhere for all time in every circumstance.
This command is particularly relevant on Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.
eucharisteō – to be grateful, that is, (actually) to express gratitude (towards); specifically to say grace at a meal: – (give) thank (-ful, -s).
Thanksgiving is “An act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially to God.” Paul qualifies this by saying “in everything” or as some translations say “in every circumstance”. The Greek word pas means “all” or “every” so no matter what our circumstances, we ought to be thankful.
- When life is hard… give thanks.
- When my health is failing… give thanks.
- When I’m alone… give thanks.
- When I’m in pain… give thanks.
As a child I was taught to say “please” and “thank you”. My giving of thanks was an expression of gratitude for the things I have received. It was thank you for.
- Thank you for the birthday present Grandma.
- Thank you for the dinner
Thank you for is appropriate on occasions like this but I think that the biblical injunction for give thanks goes deeper.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
(Colossians 4:2 NASB)
Today is probably the most difficult Thanksgiving day of my life. Dercums Disease is thought to be one of the most painful diseases you can experience. At the same time as it causes extreme pain it attacks my nervous system resulting in in uncontrollable shaking, seizures and the worse part is the way it affects the brain. It becomes very difficult to think clearly. Difficult to concentrate and at times you feel like you are losing touch with reality.
The natural response to this disease is an attitude of despair. Despair so deep that you simply want to die. A close second to despair is anger. Anger at God, anger at my circumstances, anger at people and worst of all anger at myself. I cannot escape the feeling that somehow I deserve this pain… this suffering is God’s retribution for my failures. I know that isn’t true, but still I cannot help but feel this.
Today I must choose to give thanks
- Thank you Jesus that you endured a cross for me. You suffered the punishment for my sin. I know the pain I feel today is not punishment for sin because you endured all of God’s wrath for me.
- Thank you God for taking care of me. I have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear and I have never gone without these things for a single day of my life.
- Thank you God that you have prepared a place for me. One day I will leave this body and I will be with you for eternity. There will be no more pain and joy forever more in your presence.
- Thank you for your Word. You revealed yourself in your Word. You showed me how to live in your Word. Your Word is life.
- Thank you for your Spirit dwelling in me. Thank you Spirit for leading me, and working in me in ways that I will never know. You are more committed to my transformation than I am. You comfort and sustain me even in the depths of despair.
- Thank you for your church. I’m so grateful that there are believers that I can meet with. I’m a part of a body that is bigger than me. There are teachers and preachers who help me to understand your word.
- Thank you for my friends and family that love me even when I don’t deserve it.
- Thank you for my dog Zeus my faithful companion.