Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
He is the most optimistic and thankful person I know.
Not having heard from Mike in a while, I texted him: “Hey Mike, just checking to see how you are. Are you still in Texas?”
Almost immediately my phone rang. A Texas number I wasn’t familiar with showed on the screen. I took a chance, and a familiar voice—one I’ve heard for the last thirty-eight years—said, “Marty, this is Mike.”
Mike and I met after high school when we both worked for the same company. I was a part’s man in the warehouse; Mike did quality control. A lay off terminated my position with the company, but Mike has stayed through name changes and layoffs.
Not long ago, a transfer brought him to a new plant in our area—two hours from his home. Prior to that, he drove three hours one way to work each day.
Then the company sent him to Clute, Texas—eleven hundred miles from his home. The present stint will last ten more months. He has no idea where he’ll go next.
Mike didn’t sign on for this kind of life. He’s a homebody. When I commented on how tough his situation must be, his optimism and thankfulness bled through. “Well, the plant has been good to me. I try to look at it as doing my time for them.”
Mike always had down pat what Paul instructed believers to have: a thankful attitude. Me? Not so much. I tend to look at the dark side rather than the bright side. To complain about negative circumstances rather than be thankful in them.
And the little preposition in is important. In refers to location. Being thankful in all settings is radically different than being thankful for all circumstances. Being happy over a child’s death, a lost job, or bankruptcy is ludicrous.
But I can be thankful in those instances. When I remember God controls my situations, a different spin arises. Circumstances are powerless to make me miserable—just as no one can make me angry. I choose my response. Mike selected thankfulness.
God is good all the time—even when our environment makes His goodness difficult to observe. Remembering He is allows us to find thankfulness in all circumstances.
Wherever God has placed you, be thankful.
Tweetable: Are you thankful in all circumstances?
Prayer: Father, help us to search for the bright side in all circumstances.