Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
There is always a reason to give thanks to God, even when the circumstances we face are difficult, challenging, or sorrowful. If giving thanks to God was dependent on us being happy, then we would seldom give thanks, for our lives on earth are complicated with many difficulties and filled with many sorrows. But true thankfulness is grounded in God’s constant love for us and God’s unfailing presence. If our mind is open to God’s love and presence, then we will always have reason to worship and give thanks.
Lord, I thank you for your love and presence in good times as well as bad. Teach me the joy of thankfulness in all circumstances of my life.
Thankfulness is often the doorway out of oppressive sorrow and self-pity. Thankfulness both recenters our focus and widens our perspective. When we face trouble, our focus is typically on the trouble itself, so much so that we often can see nothing else. And life on earth is filled with trouble, so we can move from trouble to trouble without ever enjoying anything more. But when we give thanks, even in the midst of trouble, we are lifted up and delivered. So the next time you face a challenge, step back and search for a reason to give thanks. Your thankfulness will both honor God and deliver you.