“Thanksgiving in All Circumstances”
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Do you have a passage of scripture you go to regularly? The kind which you have read maybe a hundred times or more which still speaks to you? This passage is one which does that for me. There are times it speaks words of comfort when worry seems like an inescapable shadow. It harkens to the intention of God to bring continual peace into the lives of God’s children. Paul’s words also drives me to the deep place of prayer in everything.
The challenging portion of the verse comes to me when we are called to have thanksgiving be a part of every request, every prayer, and every circumstance. There are some days it is just plain hard to be thankful for the circumstances we find ourselves in. The secret to this passage doesn’t reside in our circumstances or some fanciful self deluding mind trick to pretend things are okay when they just aren’t.
What I am learning from maturing Christians is this: The center of our “gratitude orbit” must move from our circumstances, no matter what we think of what is happening, to the person of God. It is the move from us praying for God to make the world match our will and to living for God’s will in the world. As a beginning Christian we are just blown away that God really does love us, and Jesus saves us. We pray for God to _______ and then try to perfect our prayers to get what we want. It would be easy if everything went our way like Paul said the above. Someone gives us what we want and we say thank you/express gratitude.
We are being called to become people who have abiding gratitude in EVERYTHING. There is more to this than a newsletter article. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, perhaps we can nurture in the back of our mind a prayerful hope that God’s Grace may help us grow into the kind of people whose trust and gratitude abide in the Lord Jesus in everything. Then we find what we have been seeking all along, “The peace of God which passes all understanding.”