Have you been in a meeting where the speaker said: “be grateful to God because you’ve got food on your table.” You looked back at your own table and recalled there was no food, you even gave yourself unanticipated fasting and prayer simply because you wanted to funnel the hunger into something meaningful. You looked around, saw people jumping, clapping and being grateful because they have food on their tables. You probably will feel left out, you may wonder “but I don’t have food on my table. Does that mean God has not been faithful to me?”
Have you been in a gathering where the speaker said: “be grateful for God because throughout this year you didn’t lose your job.” While people were being grateful and cheering to the praise of God for keeping their jobs, you opened your smartphone, went back to that email sent to you from your employers regarding your retrenchment. You looked back and would hear what your employer just told you yesterday “you’ve been one of our best staff but we are in a critical time and we had to cut our staff… I am sorry, we will be ending it here.” Would you still be motivated to praise God? Or would you rather sit back and whisper to yourself saying “God has been faithful to others but probably not to me.”
Have you been to that gathering where it was announced “be grateful to God because none of us lost our lives” and you looked back at the time your husband was lowered to the grave, the time your little child gave up on the bed, the moment you lost your parents or the moment you lost a dear friend? While others were praising God for keeping them and their loved ones alive, their praise was only reminding you that you just buried someone dear to you. Would you still be motivated to praise God?
Have you been to that gathering where it was announced “be grateful to God for the good health” but you remember the doctor’s report, you remember cancer, a viral infection or just anything that has been keeping you down for a while? Maybe, you even dragged a sick body to the gathering. While others were shouting, clapping and dancing to the glory of God for being in good health, how would you feel about yourself? Will you still be grateful to God?
Perhaps, you’re just a few minutes away from getting arrested by your debtors, perhaps you’ve been rejected several times, perhaps you are facing challenges that justify your worries but your gratitude to God shouldn’t be tied to things. I think it is not right when our gratitude to God is tied to things, we were never told to thank God only when we succeed in things. A certain song says “when trouble comes my way I will praise the Lord” but believers who “know better” believes that the song should be “when success comes my way I will praise the Lord”. Let’s see what the Bible says
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
Read the above again slowly.
We shouldn’t be thankful only because we are alive, we shouldn’t be thankful only because we are healthy, we shouldn’t be thankful only because we didn’t lose our jobs. As a people, we shouldn’t ask people to be grateful because things are good with them but never ask them to be grateful when things are bad. It leaves a lot discouraged, it leaves a lot of feeling that God has not been faithful to them. It is not God’s will that we are thankful only in the beautiful moments, we are to be grateful in all moments. All circumstances mean every single moment of our lives.
That moment you lost your job, you should look up to God and say “it may not make sense but Lord I am still grateful.” If the doctor gave you a negative report, you should look up to God and say “it may not make sense, I know it is not God’s will for me to stay in poor health but Lord, I am grateful even when it doesn’t make sense.” When you get rejected by someone, don’t start questioning God and asking if something is wrong with you, look up look to God and say “Lord I am grateful, it may not make sense to me why I should be grateful but I am grateful because I know your will for me is perfect.”
Gratitude to God in all circumstances is one way to stay afloat and stay in peace. It is one way of preventing the devil from stealing your joy! When you are being overwhelmed by circumstances and negative voices are becoming more profound, declare to the hearing of everything around you “my joy is in the Lord and of him! The devil can’t steal my joy! Lord, I remain grateful!” Let us see the preceding verses
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NLT
Never give worry a chance, never let the devil capitalize on what you are going through not just to steal your joy but to also steal your praise. Stay joyful always, God wouldn’t have wanted you to stay joyful always if he hasn’t given you the ability to be joyful. You’ve got joy in you! Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself “I’ve got joy!”. Another thing Paul never forgot to write as inspired by the Holy Spirit is “never stop praying.”
Here are two things you must always do in every circumstance:
1. Pray always
2. Stay thankful
I will tell you why.
Jesus said, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24 NLT
The first step to having what you prayed for is to believe that you have received it even before you see it. One of the attitudes of one who has received answers is thanksgiving and gratitude. If you truly believe you have received it, you ought to be thankful and grateful whether you have seen the manifestation or not. Thanksgiving and gratitude should be acts of faith. The Bible says
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” – Colossians 4:2 NLT
Next time you see people thanking God for good health, for success, for finance, for the blessing of long life and life partners and you look around you but couldn’t find the same reasons with them, stay grateful knowing that God has plans for you and His plans for you has been executed in Jesus. Be grateful for Jesus, be grateful for salvation and the deliverance God has granted you out of the darkness! Salvation is not based on things, Jesus is all that God has to give and God has given you Jesus. Be grateful for that!
The reason Paul wrote “to die is gain and to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21) was simply because of the Jesus-factor. One with God is a majority, as a believer, you are not at loss! In good and bad times, you are not at loss! God’s love isn’t proven by long life on earth, it is not proven by financial success or acceptance of people. God proved his love by giving himself in Jesus! Jesus is all of God and Jesus is everything God has to give! That is more reason to be grateful!
Whatever situation that you’ve found yourself in, I pray you to find strength and motivation to pull throughout of it. I pray for you; that you see from a clearer perspective what God’s plans for you are, that you see beyond your present situations and see God’s hand leading you somewhere. This way, you see yourself being grateful to God in all circumstances.
I leave you with this encouraging word from Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28 NLT