– Kay Arthur
We Are Commanded To
Paul writes like an imperative command that we are to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18), and again he writes that we ought to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). Notice that this is an “always” and “in all circumstances” command. We are commanded to give thanks to God in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in and whatever time those circumstances occur, which could mean at any time of the day or night and for all things, both the good and, yes, the bad.
We Need To
Daniel had just heard an edict where if anyone made a petition (prayer) to anyone but King Darius, they were to be fed to the lions (Dan. 6:7). So what did Daniel do? “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Dan. 6:10). Daniel did just what the new edict forbade him to do and for the very reason of this edict, knowing that he could not disobey God and pray to a man. Daniel needed to pray at the exact time when he was not allowed. When do we need to pray? Always. But the strange thing was, at least to me, was that in this trial, Daniel “prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before,” showing we should give thanks even during difficult times.
Giving Thanks for Beatings
What? Was this a typo? Nope, and the following is why I wrote that we can give thanks even for beatings. At least the apostles did. They had just appeared before the Sanhedrin, and “they called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:40). So what did they do? Go to the Jewish leaders and complain, or pray to God for the beatings to stop? Far from it. In fact, “the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41). Remember, Paul said to give thanks in all circumstances and at all times.
Giving Thanks for All Things
Paul knew that the Christians in Rome were suffering greatly. What did he tell them? He wrote that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28) and that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). Therefore, there is nothing that happens, good or bad, that will not work out for our ultimate good, and for that we ought to give thanks to God, Who is in control of every single thing that happens. We should thank God, Who will deliver us out of everything that happens to us (Rom. 7:24-25).
We can give thanks for all things and in all circumstances, even when we are persecuted for our faith, because we’re commanded to. We need to be grateful because God is in control. Therefore, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God (1 Thess. 5:18).