“We rejoice in our hope, not in our circumstances.” -Matt Chandler
This reminds me of a devotional I read this week about 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for those of you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Hard circumstances, filled with pain and confusion, can be difficult to find joy in. Just two verses before this, Paul advises us to”always be joyful.” Maybe it’s just me but when I feel tired, hurt, confused, or overwhelmed, it’s hard to be joyful, much less to be thankful. Surely Paul is not asking us to be thankful for the difficult and painful situations.
In order to understand this verse a bit better, look at my favorite part of speech: the preposition. Pay careful attention to Paul’s choice of the preposition “in.” He doesn’t use the word “about.” Paul is saying to be thankful in all circumstances. So when the world seems cruel, find something to be thankful about and you’ll be following this advice. You don’t have to be thankful for the circumstance (although I have found that trying to be thankful for a circumstance can often help me see why God has placed me in that situation).
That brings me back to the quote from Matt Chandler. There is always hope to be thankful for. Know that God has a perfect plan for each life. There’s a reason for every situation, and God’s reason is always for the best. God wants us to be happy, but sometimes that means we have to go through hard times in order to learn more about him. Knowing more about God is happiness, so if hard circumstances bring that, bring it on. I can be thankful for hard times if I look at them with eyes of hope. So remember, be thankful and take joy in the hope that God works through every situation.