By Debra Whittington: QCS columnist
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever (Psalms 30:12).
This year has flown by and is almost gone.
As I am writing this column, Thanksgiving is only two and half weeks away. Thanksgiving is more than the fourth Thursday of November; it is a state the mind and heart that should be evident each and every day of the year.
Each of us has so much to be thankful for.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church that they should give thanks in everything, not just a few things. “Yeah, right,” one might say. It was easy for Paul to say, but hard for us to live. How can we give thanks in the midst of trials?
The Apostle Paul certainly had his share of hardships. In Acts 28, we learn of his shipwreck followed by being bitten by a poisonous snake (but not hurt). Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul shared some of the things that happened to him. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-33 we read, “Of the Jews five times received I 40 stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? If I must need glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”
Talk about having it rough, Paul certainly had his share of troubles. He even questioned God about why he had to endure his “thorn in the flesh”. In 2 Corinthians 12, he asked the Lord three times to take it away from him. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).
I know several people who are going through a rough time right now and my heart aches for them. A couple of them lost loved ones and others are suffering from serious health problems. For them and countless others who read this, it is my prayer that they be comforted and encouraged. The same Lord that saw Paul through numerous trials will see them through their ordeal and give them cause to thank the Lord in all things.
It’s true that life isn’t easy and there may be times we doubt our blessings. It is during those times we need to be even more thankful. In 2 Corinthinas 4:15-18 we read: “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The more we thank God, the more we have to be thankful for. How special it is to live a life with an attitude of gratitude. Through the good and the bad, we have much to be thankful for because we know we aren’t going through it alone. With the Lord, we can give thanks in all things.