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
Sometimes gratitude hurts.
Life isn’t always kind, and when we find ourselves struggling over circumstances we wouldn’t choose, we don’t naturally feel grateful. In fact, we tend to get angry. Even bitter.
Yet our opening scripture suggests that God desires for us to give thanks in all circumstances. Every one. That includes the good and the bad.
This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, beloved. Gratitude.
Why would gratitude be so important to God? Perhaps verse 19 offers some insight.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Ingratitude stops the flow of the Spirit, hindering God’s work in our midst. Praise and thanksgiving, on the other hand, release God’s Spirit to move.
You see, thanksgiving carries us into His presence.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4
I don’t know your present circumstances, dear one, but I do know a God who desires to reveal Himself in the midst of them. And sometimes—when life seems hardest and the view seems darkest—offering a sacrifice of praise may be the very thing that ushers God’s presence into your mess and changes things.
How do I know? It happened to Paul.
In one of his darkest moments, wrongfully imprisoned and chained in stocks, Paul offered God a sacrifice of praise.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26
Beloved, perhaps God’s ready to release you—and even those around you—from whatever oppressive prison has been holding you.
Depression. Bitterness. Illness. Fear.
Thanksgiving may be the key that unlocks your miracle.
Tomorrow we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. Don’t let the holiday pass without fixing your thoughts on the One from whom all blessings flow. Whatever you’re going through, offer Him praise.
And if praise feels like a sacrifice, beloved, offer it anyway. Because when circumstances suggest that God has abandoned you yet your lips offer praise and thanksgiving, hell trembles.
And heaven releases power-packed grace.