“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The story that always comes to mind when I read this verse is a story from Corrie ten Boom. When she and her sister Betsy were in a German concentration camp together, Betsy strove to faithfully thank God for *everything.* At one point, Corrie just couldn’t anymore – their overcrowded barracks had become infested with fleas and Corrie did not have any desire to thank God for the fleas. But Betsy did. And sometime later they learned that the fleas had actually been a blessing – the fleas were the reason Corrie and Betsy had been able to get away with having a Bible study with the other inmates. The fleas were so bad, the guards wouldn’t come in the barracks. Because the guards stayed away, Corrie and Betsy were safe from the guards finding and seizing their Bible and beating the women for having it.
If Betsy could give thanks for fleas while captive in a horrid concentration camp, shouldn’t I be able to give thanks for everything God has put in my life? I should. But not only do I rarely thank God for the *bad* but I forget to thank Him for the *good.*
We are commanded to give thanks “in all circumstances.” I used to think that this was a hopeless task, because sometimes I really can’t find anything good in the bad to give thanks for. But today I realized that I have the wrong idea about that command. I don’t have to find something good in the bad to be able to obey – I just have to give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy did not know at first that the fleas were actually protecting her, she gave thanks for them while they still seemed like no more than a new *bad* thing.
Seeing the good that God worked through a bad thing is pretty neat. But it isn’t a requirement for giving thanks. The only requirement is trusting that God really does work all things together for the good of His children.
So now I am learning to rejoice always, give thanks in everything, and trust God to bring the good.