Thursday, November 15, 2012

Being Thankful

ThanksgivingDinner
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Next week we’ll be sitting down to similar meals across this country. Most of us will remember and give thanks. For others, that will be difficult. Not everyone believes they have a reason to be thankful.

Within a 24 hour period this past weekend I heard of five deaths – completely unexpected deaths – and the quickening decline of a mother of six youngsters. Six families who would have to look deep into their soul to be able to give thanks and believe that what happened to them was the will of God.

The way this world works, it is the will of God that we die. The Bible tells of a couple of men taken by God, the remainder died even as Christ died. As we will die – and expect our loved ones to find reason to rejoice.

Yes, even in our grief, it is possible to give thanks for a number of things – the time we had together, the memories that we carry, the hope through Christ’s resurrection that we will meet again. Too many do not have that hope. To many have no hope at all. Of course, they don’t know that verse and are unaware that it is God’s will that we give thanks.

They don’t know about the preceding verse, either:

Rejoice evermore. (1 Thessalonians 5:16 KJV)

Rejoice? Evermore?!? When we’ve lost loved ones? Again it is necessary to look to God for reasons. We can’t see any reason to rejoice, can we? What we see is loss and pain that seems to last forever. A hole in our lives. Why would we possibly rejoice?

Because God knows.

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV)

He felt the loss of Lazarus. He felt the pain of nails. He died. He knows. He also knows the other side:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)

How often do we think of the ‘joy that was set before him’? His disciples didn’t, even though He told them, and us:

If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28b KJV)

Yes – we are to rejoice, and to give thanks, because of our faith. Remember:

this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Can we believe that? Do we?

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