Pastor’s Blog – August 24, 2021

     The wrong preposition can lead to a poor interpretation. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul states, “Give thanks IN all circumstances” (NIV). Note that Paul doesn’t tell the church to give thanks FOR all circumstances. As a pastor, I would not think of counseling a cancer patient to give God thanks for a disease that has taken millions of lives. To give thanks for such a monster is tantamount to calling cancer a good thing. Even worse, to express gratitude for one’s malignancy would make God out to be a sadist.
     However, to give God thanks IN all circumstances is a manner of declaring that new spouts of life are emerging through desert sands. Giving thanks amidst unwelcome circumstances is to proclaim hope in the face of hopelessness. Like a forest devastated by the flames of a wildfire, life eventually will rise, once again, from the ashes.
     The hard truth is that we live in a fallen world. Bad things happen to all people. Yet as a resurrection people, we believe that God ultimately brings forth the light of goodness out of the chaos of darkness.
     My challenge to you this week is to discover where God is at work in your life. Where is Christ bringing about healing in your pain? What new opportunities is the Spirit leading you to pursue in the wake of disappointment? Who might you encourage with the knowledge that God also is at work in their circumstances?
Lord Jesus, give me the vision to see your hand at work in and around me. Grant me the capacity to hear your voice encouraging me never to acquiesce to despair. Embolden me to help others lift their eyes above the shadows of evil to embrace the light of your resurrection power. Amen.