Our Niece Katie held up her small hand and pointed with each finger, one by one, as she carefully repeated the five words of a Bible verse she'd learned from her mother. "Give-thanks-in-all-circumstances," she said sweetly, seriously. The wording was new to me, but I recognized the idea. The Apostle Paul's letter has it this way in the King James Version: "In every thing give thanks." I Thess. 5:18.
I was familiar with the message. I knew it was important to acknowledge God's blessings, and I tried to do this faithfully. But giving thanks in all circumstances? And in everything? I really hadn't given that part much attention before. But on that autumn day when a meek little girl in a blue jumper stood in my kitchen quoting another translation of Scripture, the full message came through to me loud and clear. The "in all circumstances" part sparkled with new appeal and promise.
Paul was writing from his own well-tested experience. Through persecution, imprisonment, suffering, and all kinds of hardship, he thanked God continually, and he urged his fellow Christians to do the same. He knew without a doubt that his trials were temporary, and that deliverance would come. Christ Jesus' resurrection—that astounding victory over death and hatred—was never far from Paul's thought.
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