There are only a few weeks left to 2020 — Thank God! Ah, but what will 2021 hold for us? There is no way we can know. Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine? Will it be available to everyone? Will it work? Are people going to feel safe enough to venture out, go shopping, travel and/or socialize again? We don’t know. It’s really hard to look forward to a happy new year when there’s so much uncertainty.
On top of that, people are struggling in many ways. Some who were happily working last February found themselves unemployed in March. Business owners who had 2020 all planned out last December found themselves looking at having to close or pivot (change the way they do business) quickly. Many recovered, some are still struggling, some are closed forever.
Many people are depressed with the thought of a COVID-19 Thanksgiving and Christmas. Depending on where you live, you may be facing yet another lockdown. The suicide rate skyrocketed. Christians and non-Christians alike are suffering from isolation, depression, anxiety, stress, helplessness, hopelessness, you name it!
And the Bible actually tells us to…
18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18
First, it says “be thankful in all circumstances” not “for all circumstances”. We’re not to thank God for the problems we’re having. We are to find things in our lives to be grateful for.
Here’s an excerpt from a Bible Study on Practicing Gratitude in the free YouVersion Bible App…
It’s easy to notice the good around you when things are going well. It can be harder to practice gratitude when things go poorly.
And yet, that’s exactly when you need to connect with God. When life is tough, you need God more than ever.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says that Christ’s will for you is to give thanks “in all circumstances.” How can you give thanks when things are hard? It may take venting your hurt or frustration to God before you can get to gratitude.
You may find many good things springing to mind. Even the thought that Jesus sees you and cares for you can be encouraging.
When the prophet Jonah was having a terrible day at work, he found gratitude by looking at God’s provision through the physical environment. God made a bush for shade and “Jonah was very happy about the bush.” (Jonah 4:6).TheologyOfWork.org
- Think about a current hardship you face. Tell God truthfully how you feel about it. Share every lament and complaint.
- Ask yourself: is there anything I can be grateful for in this circumstance?
- Notice anything in your natural environment that feels like a gift from God.
- Anytime you feel your shoulders sink today, ask Jesus to share in your suffering. Then ask: is there anything I can be grateful for? What has God done here that’s good?
Prayer: God, you know my heart. Thank you for hearing my suffering. Help me thank you in all circumstances.
Further Exploration: Read Ann Voskamp’s answer to the question: “How do I fully live when life is full of hurt?”
Think of God as Your Friend
One thing that many “religious” people struggle with is that God wants to have a relationship with you, personally! Jesus didn’t suffer and die on the cross so that we could have religion! He sacrificed His life so that we could have a relationship with HIM!
He’s available 24/7 to talk to. That’s one of the many benefits of salvation! Hey! That’s something to thank God for!
Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross and taking my sins away. Please forgive my sins. I will try to stop sinning, but I need your help. Please give me your strength. I need you, Jesus!
Peter told us…
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT
Note, also, that it says, “at the right time”. Yes, it’s God’s timing, not yours. That’s why you have to keep praying and thanking Him.
Do You Belong to Christ Jesus?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…