“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).
A friend discovered the power in this verse at a time she desperately needed it. Having gone through the unexpected loss of her child, she faced sadness and utter desolation. Then God offered her a gift of hope. This verse revealed something that became a lifeline. She was told to give thanks in this terrible trial because it was God’s will for her to praise Him. Even though she didn’t feel like praising God at all she friend took God at His Word. Her praise became a sacrifice of her pain and heartache to Him. It became her offering of self. And God did a miracle. He lifted her from the terrible agony. Yes, she still felt the loss, but her focus changed from her pain to her promise. She would see her son again one day. Her life took on a new purpose. She had a message of hope to share.
The hardships of our lives will always come. When we are on the top of the mountain, we praise Him easily. When we are in the valley, praise is difficult. God knows that when we praise Him in our hardest times we receive release from the pain which has claimed us. When we praise Him in the midst of loss or pain or discouragement or embarrassment or loneliness or sadness or illness, the heart and mind become stronger through its surrender. “Through Jesus,” the writer to the Hebrews declares, “therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV). The day my friend heard of the death of her child the news was shocking, sudden, and overwhelming. When faced when such hard news, numbness is often our first defense. After the numbness lifts the pain can become too much to bear. God knows if it isn’t released it can destroy us. Often pain is released in anger, and we may strike out in its bitterness. The greatest way to release the pain is to God. In praise we find release. And, yes, it is a sacrifice to give praise when your life is fractured. It is a sacrifice to praise Him when what you face makes no sense to your heart. My friend found release in a sacrifice of praise to God. She discovered His strength in the midst of her loss.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT). Be thankful in your circumstance. You don’t have to like your circumstance, and you don’t have drown in its pain. Thankfulness is an attitude you choose. Do you give praise in all circumstances? If not—the truth in Hebrews 13:15 brings healing. It takes your acceptance of His love for you, and a willing heart to offer a sacrifice of praise. Through praise my friend has discovered God’s healing power. Greater faith has become her reward. She knows God will not forsake her at any time. The pain you feel now can become part of the joy you receive later. That joy is His gift to His child who praises Him no matter what happens. Be thankful and praise Him in whatever your circumstance; you too shall receive.
Lynn Hampton Lacher