1Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Isn’t it always very easy to thank God whenever we receive a blessing? When we get a promotion or a huge pay rise we thank God profusely. When we get an exceptional business deal beyond our expectations we thank God and are willing to give unto the Kingdom of God. Perhaps we were saved from a very nasty accident, we can be so thankful to God for our lives. In fact, even for the little things we are also very thankful to God such as a parking space! Yes when things are going good and dandy we know how to thank God and are very generous with our praises. However when things do not go our way, our first reaction is that God is no more real or God is powerless to do anything for us. When a loved one dies from a deadly disease in spite of much prayer for example. It is God’s fault for not saving him or her! People can get angry with God. In fact, some of them intentionally keep away from God and indirectly put the blame on Him for their own failure or misfortune. Some even get bitter with God and begin to blaspheme Him. Is this for real! You bet! I have seen too many of such behavior or misbehavior that I can only attribute this to one’s misunderstanding of what it is to be thankful. Many people believe that God can do miracles and they will call upon Him when the need arises. However, their attitude towards God is that He must perform that miracle in order for Him to continue to be their God. If he fails, He is no longer their God. He is likened to a slave who must obey the bidding of the master.

Paul tells us to give thanks IN all circumstances not FOR all circumstances! Every circumstance that we are in God has allowed it because God has something more significant for our lives and for everyone who is affected by the situation.

Jesus Christ showed us the pattern of thanksgiving whilst He was on earth. Four days after Lazarus had died, He went to resurrect Him from the dead to glorify the power of God but before He called out to Lazarus to come forth, Jesus prayed and thanked His Father for this miracle. In another event, He had compassion on the 5,000 followers who had come to listen to Him but had no food, Jesus lifted up the five loaves and two fishes, thanked God for the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes. At another occasion, 4,000 were similarly fed after Jesus Christ gave thanks and there was a multiplication of bread and fishes.

In contrast, on one occasion, 10 lepers cried out to Jesus to heal them. All were healed but only one leper came to thank the Lord. Should we only thank God when things are good? In our lives bad things happen from time to time. Sometimes they are a consequence of our bad choices and at other times it’s because we live in a sinful world. A sinful world produces sinful consequences. Sickness, accidents, broken relationships, natural disasters and crimes are all consequences of a sinful world.

We need a right attitude in overcoming our bad situation. Paul encourages us to rejoice because we are going to see the glory of God in our situation. We also need to pray unceasingly meaning to say we need to keep an open channel of communication with God in order to hear His instructions, words of comfort and encouragement and always thanking Him for what we are going to receive!