time an unbeliever hears these words ‘in everything give thanks’ he wonders
what there is to be thankful for? What follows is a string of questions to
justify that we cannot give thanks always. When we were born into the world,
there was reason for thanksgiving, wasn’t there? Did it happen by our will or
because of the divine principle of seedtime and harvest?
God is supreme in all He does. He does not have to explain the ‘what and when or how’ He does things. Our daily prayer should be ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ God will not consult us or give us a forewarning either for fear that we might become all hysterical and upset or become contented and even inflated without a cause.
One thing is certain, God has declared in His Word that nothing—even to the minute details--takes place without His knowledge. He says that ‘the tiniest bird (a sparrow) will not fall to the ground without His will.’ (Matthew 10:29) We do not have the right to enquire why. The right attitude to adopt is to give thanks—it could have been a lot worse.
In life what we really need is protection from the devil whose desire is ‘to kill and steal and destroy.’ (John 10:10a) Jesus said He came ‘that we might have life and have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10b) All that we possess has been given to us by God. He can choose to deny any request, delay it or ignore it outright. In whatever He does He is just. He does not take back what He has given to us. “...for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) Sometimes, we lose it to Satan because we open ourselves up to his devilish tactics.
God has a plan for each of us that He alone will implement “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) This is the reason why in life we have different roles and functions to play. We are pieces of puzzles which have been put together to paint a complete and holistic picture.
We may not fathom why God should be silent about our problems; why bad things happen to good people; but whichever way we see it God is in complete control. Making reference to the incident in Siloam when a tower collapsed killing eighteen people, Jesus made the comment “Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?” (Luke 13:4) It is one of those things that do not make sense to us. Those whom Pilate had murdered and ‘mixed their blood with their sacrifices were not worse sinners that all the other Galileans because they suffered this way.’ “Unless you repent, you too will all perish,” He concluded. (Luke 13:5)
Remember there are contrary forces at play in this world called principalities and powers. They rule this world with wickedness. Whilst they may succeed in wrecking havoc, they are not a force to be reckoned with before God. Whatever the circumstances we must give thanks. Thank God for His multiple favours, His goodness, loving-kindness and tender mercies. Sometimes we bring these things upon ourselves and blame God. For long Job had feared for the lives of his children and was in a habit of offering sacrifices to appease God on their behalf. When finally all of them died on the same day after a mighty wind suddenly swept the four corners of the house where his son and daughters had been feasting and drinking wine, he lamented: “What I feared has come upon me, what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25)
In Old Testament days, breaking the law had its consequences. Today as believers, God has made provision for our sins by putting the punishment on His Son. He has exchanged His righteousness for our sinfulness. We have become like Christ for He took our sin upon Himself on the cross in exchange for His righteousness. When we sin God does not count it against us, for His Son has already paid for all our sins—past, present and future. It does not mean that we have the liberty to sin because our sins have been forgiven in full. We have to be grateful for what Christ has done, for in Him we now have eternal life.
The reason why we worship and praise God is to express our heartfelt thanks to Him for His wondrous deeds because there is nothing we did to merit, earn or deserve it. As we tread this earth we shall know only partially and not wholly what God has accomplished on our behalf.
It does not make sense to thank God when we have been hurt, when we are in the valley and there is no help in sight or when we are going through difficult times. Well if we do not we will be magnifying the problem we cannot do anything about. We will be focussing on the negative things and not on the positive. The more we look at the downside of things, the more depressed we will become.
This is the best time to look to God and to praise Him, for it could have been worse. When we look to God, we are saying ‘Lord I am not able to get out of this rut but you can do it and I am leaving it all to You.’ Job did not complain over his losses, he trusted in the ability of God to bring relief. He even prayed for his friends who accused him of sin. What happened after? God blessed him with the double of what Satan had robbed him of. “The Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)
Our God is a good God. He says everything will work together for good for those who love Him and for those who walk according to His pleasure. (1 Corinthians 2:9)