“In all things and in everything give thanks and praise in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis added) 1st Thessalonians 5:18 Does this describe your attitude toward life? I wish that I could say that it always does mine, but the truth is that sometimes I allow my circumstances to determine my response rather than having a God-pleasing response to all of my circumstances. I tend to find that is most true in the 'small things' of life in which I can get most easily irritated.
Meditating upon this scripture, I thought about things that irritate me or that I may not understand at the time, that God has used to protect me from something harmful or to give me an unexpected blessing. Do you trust that if you are in Christ that God orders your every step? (Psalm 37:23) He is over not just the ‘big things’ in your life, but also the ‘small things’—the very details of your life!
For example, I’ll never forget hearing from a friend how upset she was with her Mom when she was in high school and her Mom told her she couldn’t go out with some friends one night. Her Mom had a sense that she shouldn’t go; it turned out that her friends were involved in a horrible car crash and several lost their lives. Even though she didn’t understand the ‘why’ behind her Mom’s decision and at the time she didn’t agree with her, God used her Mom to order her ‘steps’ to protect her. How thankful she was for her Mom’s discernment and that she had obeyed her Mom!
I’m sure that like me, you’re aware that over 30,000 people who were supposed to be at the World Trade Center Towers on the morning of 9/11, weren’t there for a variety of reasons. One of those stories is about a man who was supposed to be at work on the 86th floor by 8:30 a.m., but because his 12 year old daughter—usually ‘an angel’—couldn’t find the ‘right shoes’ to go with her dress, and then remembered she had homework she had to do, caused him to be late. He yelled at her the whole time he was taking her to school, but his irritation soon turned into gratitude when he realized that God had used his daughter’s disobedience to save his very life!
You may never know what God protects you from as He orders your steps. However, I encourage you to consider how different your life would be if you were thankful in all things, trusting that God is always at work for your best. How different do you think your attitude toward life would be if you approached every day as an adventure with God in which you trusted Him to order your every ‘stop’, as well as your every ‘step’?
For example, what if you praised him immediately when you got stuck at a red light? Or, if you immediately thanked God for the opportunity to be ‘Jesus with skin on’ to the person whom you’re seated next to on the plane rather than being irritated that they’re a ‘talker’ or gruff and unfriendly? Or, what if instead of complaining about the fact that your husband always leaves his dishes on the sink rather than putting them in the dishwasher, you thanked God that you had a husband and considered all of the ways in which he blesses you? Or, if instead of being upset when your boss forgets to tell you about a last minute deadline that puts you under additional stress, you thank God that you have a job and ask Him to help you get your task done in a way that you’ll know you couldn’t have done it without His strength? Or being thankful when your dog throws up on your carpet just as you're walking out the door to go to an important meeting? Or when you seem to run into a glitch with your computer every few seconds (like what has happened to me while I've been writing this blog!)?
You can trust that when God says to be thankful in all circumstances—even in the ‘small’ things of life that may be the very things that most easily irritate you-- He is at work for your good to bless you.
Written by JVG