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Give thanks in all things, Scripture tells us.

“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).1

That can be a challenging thing to do when one is suffering, and the physical, mental, or emotional pains begin. We aren’t prepared to deal with them even if we know they’re coming. As the renowned philosopher Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Concerning suffering, been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.

There aren’t any qualifications in the Lord’s command. There are no, “You don’t have to give thanks…” in these verses. However, sufferers are bombarded with questions. “Give thanks? Why is God allowing this? Why doesn’t He help me? Deliver me?”

So, to review, here is the Lord’s remedy for you and me in our suffering.


Don’t stop praying.

Give thanks to God. That is His will.

It may seem unnecessary to say, but he Lord knows what He’s talking about. He is our answer in trial. Everything else leads to bitterness and despair because He alone is our hope.

The Lord elaborates on this command:

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:18–21).

So, it looks like getting drunk or stoned to deal with painful issues is out. What’s in?


Giving thanks.

Submitting to each other out of reverence for Jesus.

It looks like it’s not a great idea to get angry with someone who offers some seemingly thoughtless, insensitive advice, which may actually be based on the truth of Scripture, like someone saying to you in the midst of your misery, “God is in control.”

Yeah. Thanks.

But it’s true, isn’t it?

Or, “All things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

If these offerings of truth from friends and acquaintances anger us, we must ask why we want to reject them.

The following verses are humbling when we think we have it all together as Christians:

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:12–13).

I don’t find that the Lord gives us any easy excuses to rise up and reject His love and care. He expects us to endure.

With joy.

I find that I fall miserably short of what the Lord commands when pain comes to visit.

But I’m working on it.

Lord, please help us remain faithful in times of pain and trial. Help us, rather, to rejoice, keep praying, and give thanks singing songs that glorify You.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles

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