My thoughts (Vivian Ampy):
Sometimes, we just don’t feel like giving thanks or question what have we to be thankful for in a particular situation. Because of this, this verse can be troubling to some. However, it doesn’t say give thanks FOR our circumstances, but rather IN all circumstances. Regardless of the situation, God will be with us; we are not along in the struggle. And for that we can/should be thankful.
I have a painting by a friend I met in seminary, Melanie Widener. It’s a picture of a person with splashes of color where charkas would be. It is very colorful and has scrawled over it “Damn, I mean thank you”. Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking this very sentiment, even before Melanie painted it so beautifully.
Haven’t you had a situation that at the time seems like the worst possible thing that could happen to you? You feel as if your life will be changed forever and not for the better. But later…it could be six months later or it could be six years…but later, you look back and see that if that situation hadn’t happened you would not be experiencing the blessings you have today.
Oh, I can name several: Not getting the first job I applied for — it was with Social Security and paid well; when I didn’t get it I went back to college. My divorce — leaving my husband gave me my self-esteem back and taught me more about people and relationships than any psychology course. Having to take care of my mom for seven years taught me so many things about love, sacrifice and the ways of God. It was during this time that I began to study scripture and other sacred writings on my own and made the decision that I needed to go to seminary.
So, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-8
Prayer for the day: God, help me to keep my eyes on you instead of on my circumstances. If I do, regardless of what is going on around me, I can say thank you. Amen
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.