“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
If you’re anything like me, you can always find something to grumble about.It seems as though life often provides more hardships than joyrides. I have met very few people who have been without complaints (I have seldom heard my brother do so: he is handicapped and I don’t recall – – for over sixty years – – having heard him utter a discontented word)!
It is quite instructive how Moses even thought. He wrote, “Make us glad according to the days in which You (God) have afflicted us” (Psalm 90:15). Think you’ve got it bad? Try taking two million people or more through the wilderness of Sinai for a period of forty years!! Moses’ request is for equal compensation! (Just for the record, Moses was eighty when he began leading his people through the wilderness)!
Then, believe it or not, there are Psalms that are titled “Psalms of complaint or lament!” Let me just give you a sample of these (and there are some 41 such personal Psalms, not all penned by David ) – – Psalms 22, 102, 120, and 130.
It seems that most of us are afflicted in one way or another and find it very difficult to be thankful. Even when things go well with us, we often forget to thank God. Do you recall the account of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus, and yet, only one returned to give thanks? Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? (Luke 17:12-17)
One more thing about Moses – – he recognized that his afflictions came from God. Wow, that’s hard to swallow, isn’t it! In other words, it is God Himself who either allows us to be afflicted, or He Himself afflicts us! Since God is all wise and makes no mistakes, there must be at least a reason or two for sending afflictions or miseries our way. Could it be that He is trying to get our attention and affection? Could it possibly also be that He is seeking to cause us to be grateful? Our title verse states that this is God’s desire or will for us. It’s really not an easy lesson to learn to be thankful in everything! I don’t find it easy and neither do you. But with God’s help and reminders, let’s ask the Lord to work out this virtue in our lives.