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Thankful…Regardless
by Martin Wiles
12/19/11
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Hard candy and a shiny drinking cup. Not much to be thankful for, but they were.

The Ingalls family had moved. The winter was desperate, and it appeared Santa wouldn’t find them. But a knock at the door revealed a snow covered Mr. Edwards who had walked many miles to ensure they received presents. His bag of goodies-delivered at Santa’s behest, contained simple presents for the entire family. They thanked him with smiles and brightened eyes.

I enjoy watching this episode during the Christmas season but always wonder how many children would smile at such simplicity. It ushers me back to uncomplicated times when people weren’t required to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest technological craze to garner a child’s smile.

And I relish the story of the Pilgrim’s first winter in America when half died from harsh conditions. Thanks to the Indians-particularly Squanto, the rest survived, planted crops and had a bountiful harvest. To express thanks, they invited their Indian neighbors for a celebration in November.

Living in the first century with its religious persecutions made it challenging for Paul to write: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

I’m thankful Paul paid close attention to sentence structure; it’s made life easier. Giving thanks in all circumstances is demanding but possible. Giving thanks for all circumstances is insane and impossible.

Thanking God for my circumstances would only happen if things were going my way. No financial struggles, illnesses or family tragedies. No job loss, addiction struggles or troubled children. Just smooth sailing. “Thank you Lord everything is going my way.” But I wouldn’t have to thank him often.

Thanking God in all circumstances allows and prods me toward continual thanks. For the good, bad and ugly. When I feel like it and when I don’t. When I’m smiling and when I’m crying.

God controls my circumstances, and because of that I can thank him in them all. Are you thanking God in all situations?

Prayer: Father, for all You bring or allow into our lives, make us thankful. www.lovelinesfromgod.com

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