Give Thanks in All Circumstances

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18
I first encountered that quotation as a child when reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.  Corrie and her sister Betsie have been imprisoned in a concentration camp for hiding Jews in their Amsterdam home.  One day Betsie reads this Bible verse and declares that she and Corrie are going to thank God for everything about the situation they find themselves in, like the fact that they have been assigned together, that there was no inspection so that they retained the Bible, even the crowded condition of the barracks which will mean more women with whom to share God’s word.  But when Betsie starts giving thanks for the fleas in the barracks, Corrie objects: “Not even God can make me grateful for a flea!”  Her sister reminds her that the words were “give thanks in ALL circumstances,” not just in pleasant ones, and adds that “fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
Betsie’s faith is justified when the soldiers who routinely rape the women in the other barracks avoid their unit because of the fleas.
I haven’t reached the point yet of thanking God that our house burned down.  Maybe I will someday.  But for now it is enough to recognize some of the very real blessings that would never have come our way otherwise.  Today I am thinking about the blessings of friendship.
I think of a couple at church who were barely acquaintances before and became our friends because they offered us office space to use until we found somewhere else to live and work.  I think of a friend whom I had not talked to in a while, and his wife whom I had met only once, who went above and beyond with gifts and time and financial assistance and concern.  I think of people whom I knew at our kids’ schools, especially football parents, whose kindness and support has bridged my innate shyness to make me feel closer to them.  I think of my new next door neighbor, whom I would never have met if I had not moved here, and the book club she invited me to be a part of, and the many fun evenings I have spent in her company.
And I think of YOU, my dear online friends, especially those in the blogging world.  Because the fire made me blog more–I HAD to write, to process this experience:  I am still processing it, obviously.  And I don’t think I would have become as involved in these online communities if it had not been for the fire.  Being online was a comforting refuge, something familiar and safe when things were strange.
I love this month of Thanksgiving, and the challenge that so many of us strive to meet to post on Facebook each day something to be thankful for.  It can be life-changing to realize that no matter how bad things seem there is always, always something to be thankful for.

5 thoughts on “Give Thanks in All Circumstances

  1. I have been thinking about this lately. It almost seems insane at times to be thankful when things are falling apart. I am a born problem solver and I am always working a solution. Too often, I am focused on fixing things that are “wrong.” I forget to allow for quiet and to be open the “solutions” that might come to me. Lately I have been trying to live with deeper gratitude and frankly I need to decrease anxiety and stress. It is a hard thing to do. The only way I can see the light is to try to see it as I think God might. My vision is often obscured by my own perceptions, but the more I work to change my perspective the more light beams in. Thanks for sharing with us this blog.

    1. Thank you for your insights. Trying to see things as God might is an interesting idea. He’s outside of time of course and that’s where He has the advantage on us. Talk about taking the long view! Often I find I can only see things that way in hindsight–but sometimes when I’m in the middle of something rough–like the fire–I remember that and KNOW there will be blessings later even if I can’t see them right now. That sometimes helps.

  2. Pingback: Counting Blessings: On Giving Thanks in Difficult Circumstances – Everyday Ediths

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