It might Have Been Worse (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

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The word “everything” takes in a lot of territory, especially when it defines the circumstances in life in which we are instructed to give thanks. We readily see how it covers the broad field of blessings and good things that make life pleasurable. But what about suffering? Can we be thankful when distressed and in pain? Yes, even in life’s adversities, we can be grateful that our situation is no worse.

In his old age, President James Madison suffered from many ailments and took a variety of medicines. It is said that a longtime friend from a nearby county sent him a box of vegetable pills, one of his own home remedies, asking to be informed if they brought relief. In time he received one of those gracious and carefully worded letters for which Madison was noted. It went something like this: “My dear friend, I thank you very much for the box of pills. I have taken them all; and while I cannot say I am better since taking them, it is quite possible that I might have been worse if I had not taken them.”

For the Christian, such a response is more than a pleasantry. No matter what is lost, there is always something left. Is this not true even when our condition appears hopeless? At the edge of despair God extends His staying hand and reassures us that we can always depend on Him. He will not let us go. No wonder the apostle could urge us to give thanks “in everything.” He knew that God works in everything for our good. – Dennis J. De Haan

We can give thanks in everything

And say, “Your will be done,”

For God’s at work in everything

To make us like His Son. – D. J. De Haan

Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want; be thankful you don’t what you deserve.

  • March 7, 1988, Our Daily Bread
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