Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
Friend to Friend
While in Ravensbrück, Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy dealt with appalling conditions. The women’s labor camp dorms were crammed into three high trough-like sleeping barracks with rancid hay as their bed.
The cramped conditions and lack of basic sanitation led to a lice and massive infestation of fleas. Corrie wondered how they could endure such a dreadful place.
Betsy prayed and told her sister they must “give thanks in all circumstances.”
Corrie wondered how she could possibly ever be thankful for the lice and the fleas?
Several weeks later, one of the supervisors was called in their barracks to view something Betsy was working on. The supervisor refused because the place was crawling with fleas.
Betsy then reminded her sister that it was the fleas that had allowed them so much freedom to form a bond with and pray and teach about Jesus to their entire barrack with little interference from their captors. Neither the supervisors or guards wanted to be in their barracks because of the lice and the fleas. Corrie then realized how she could be thankful even for a flea.
Every time I read this part of the true story “The Hiding Place,” I’m so humbled by the raw and real way God used these amazing, brave sisters in such a horrendous situation. And yes, He even used the fleas.
When the Apostle Paul instructed us to be thankful in all circumstances, he really did mean all. The good, the bad, and the ugly situations we face in life can absolutely impact our faith. When life is good, we decide we are good – and if we are honest, we decide God is good. But when the trials and storms knock us to our knees, our first response is often an accusation hidden in a question, “Where are You, God?”
I know life can be hard. Some of you are in so much pain that it is hard to breathe. But God knows where you are and what you are going through – and you really can trust Him. The apostle Paul had a firm grip on this truth.
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12 NIV).
The word “content” can best be defined as “contained.” Don’t miss this truth! Paul had trained himself to focus on his inner resources, the resources his heart contained rather than the outward circumstances of life. He chose to be grateful. He chose to praise God. Period. We hear his determination in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) when he says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This old poem captures Paul’s truth well:
“I rejoice in knowing that
There is no oil without squeezing the olives,
No wine without pressing the grapes,
No fragrance without crushing the flowers
And no real joy without sorrow.”
An attitude of gratitude not only brings contentment, but it also encourages perseverance and produces strength. And gratitude is a choice – not a feeling. God entrusts trials to us, giving us the opportunity to choose gratitude.
Father, I come to You, confessing that I tend to have a heart that is filled with whining and complaining instead of gratitude. Please forgive me. Help me learn to see Your hand at work in my life. I want to trust You even when I don’t understand my circumstances. Right now, I choose to praise You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
We are all facing some kind of challenge today. Let’s choose to be grateful for the opportunity to trust God and grow in our faith.
Leave a comment and note one thing that you are thankful for today.
More from the Girlfriends
A great way to develop the holy habit of giving thanks is to search each day for the work of God in your life. Mary’s Joy Journal will help you establish that habit. Check it out!
Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need prayer? Email our Prayer Team Director, Ginger Meador. We would love to pray for you!
© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
Flee from the Devil, Girlfriends! lol
I’m thankful to God for His protection over my children and where they are today.
I am thankful for the Grace of God giving me the strength to care for my 96-year-old Mom. I am grateful for being able to worship freely in the US at least for now! I am grateful for how God is meeting my financial needs every day. I am grateful for the lives of my husband, children and grandchildren and even for the grandchild’s life who is now with Jesus! Most of all I am thankful for Jesus Christ who took my place on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins and has given me a HOME in HEAVEN.
I am thankful for my own emotional and physical pain which gives me empathy toward others who are suffering. Blessings.
Today I am thankful for where I am, who I am, who my family & friends are, and the road God has put us on. Beyond blessed!
i am thankful for God’s promise, that he will never leave me nor forsake me. i am grateful that he told me to not be afraid, for He have ransomed you.
I am grateful that He have called me by name; I am His
He said When I go through deep waters,
He will be with me.
When I go through rivers of difficulty,
I will not drown.
When I walk through the fire of oppression,
I will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume me.
3 For He is the Lord, my God,
the Holy One of Israel, my Savior.
I am going for a surgery today and I know thatI am not alone, for He is with me.
Thank you Mary for your beautiful message
Today, I am thankful for the trials God gave me early on in my marriage to strengthen my faith in God as well as blessed my marriage to withstand even the hard times. I praise God for all his many blessings over my family and pray for those facing the hardest times right now, may they see God’s plan in their perseverance.
Today I am thankful for my children who are 27,22,& 14. For their health and their love. and for knowing that even though there are so many people facing horrendous war, I know that He…The King of the Universe is MY Father and He will never leave us. He’s got us sisters. He has all of us.
I’m thankful for family a.d for God always being with us
I am so glad that I’ve learned how to actually pray, with thankfulness.
My prayers were always, asking. As I’ve matured, as Paul writes about new Christians, in Galatians; I now, know that the the Father loves it when we say praise and mentions of thanksgiving to Him!
( Father God, Thank you for all the blessings! ” I’ve seen the evidence of Your goodness….All over my life…”)
Thankful for you, too, Mary. Your inspirational messages are always a spiritual up-lift to me.
I am thankful for a true friend that loves me so much to share this devotion with me because she knows I am going through so much lately.
SO GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL TO MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS FROM HIM THEREFORE IT BELONGS TO HIM. THANKFUL FOR THIS LIFE, LOVING HUSBAND, FAMILY, WORK ETC….. FATHER KEEP ME HEALTHY MENTALLY, LESS ANXIOUS AND REMOVE ANYTHING UNHEALTHY IN ME SO I CAN GLORIFY AND MAGNIFY YOUR NAME ALWAYS TO EVERYONE. ABBA I LOVE YOU.
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR MY HUSBAND, CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, NEICES AND THEIR HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN, MY CHURCH FAMILY, MY FRIENDS, MY HEALTH, MY JOB AND MOST OF ALL I AM THANKFUL FOR JESUS. MY LORD AND MY SAVIOUR AND MY SOON COMING KING!!!
I’m thankful for Jesus and how He works all things together for my good.
I needed this. This is my present state.
I’m thankful for my mean husband. He’s the “flea” God put in my life that I don’t know why. I will choose gratitude and ask God for help since I don’t know what to do anymore
I am thankful that my children are growing up and there is peace in our home. It was not always peaceful but I have learnt to seek and trust God
I am so grateful for your wonderful ministry and for the gift of tech for this to be a blessing wherever we are. Also for how God also cares for us in small things as so grateful I lost an important receipt and He helped me find it! Praise God!!!!
I am thankful for God placing people in my path to give me the words I need at just the right moment. I needed this prayer today. Thank you!
So grateful for this message. I have had a challenging week. I have begun divorce proceedings so there will be more circumstances to go through. I praise God for walking beside me and that I have a great church family.
You are never alone.