Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:18
In all Circumstances?
Everything about this verse hangs on one little phrase, "in Christ Jesus”. If we are to give thanks in ALL circumstances, we must have great reason for thankfulness. There must be some other worldly, baffling, supernatural reason. Why would someone be thankful in the face of suffering, hardship, and even death? How could anyone in their right mind even offer such advice? Without Jesus, this is at best a pithy hollow saying and at worst harsh and heartless words for the hurting. But, in Jesus, we know our suffering isn't punishment; he bore our punishment for us. And though we may have trials, we can take heart, for Jesus has overcome. And even in our death, Jesus offers us life eternal. Our thankfulness isn't rooted in our circumstances, but in our Lord who loves us in all our circumstances and even in our darkest hour.