And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)
A couple of years ago, a wind-whipped inferno tore through the town of Paradise, California. On what should have been a typical day of parents going to work, kids going to school, socializing, or whatever was normal for a Thursday, the community was unaware that life would change forever in a moment. Many of us have friends and family who live there. By most media reports, the vast majority of the town burned up in less than 24 hours. Images and videos posted to social media show families fleeing the blaze down roads lined with fire and blowing embers. It looked like a scene straight out of an apocalyptic movie.
Even through the heartbreak of so much loss, there is also a moment to pause and be thankful. One of my college friends is a doctor at the local hospital there. He, and several of the medical team were trapped by fire as they helped to evacuate the patients. They weren’t sure if they would get out in time. Yet, I was happy to hear from my friend that they all made it out safely and were reunited with their families. Or, there is another of my friends who had only a moment’s notice to flee from their family home, yet they all made it out safely, driving through a tunnel of flames, none-the-less. I was thankful to hear her voice on the phone. Even in the midst of tragedy and loss, we can still find things to be thankful to God for.
In our life, things won’t always go perfectly. Tragedy will strike. Circumstances will not go our way. Bad things will happen. It is a certainty in this sinful world. The only thing we can control is our attitude about it. We can lament – and certainly there is a time and place for grieving – or we can give thanks. Complaining doesn’t fix anything. Giving thanks realigns us with our God who does.
So, today, and every day, as you face trials, unforeseen craziness, and tragedy, look for the things to give thanks about. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Grieve as appropriate, but seek out what thanks you can give to God.
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