Many Christians all over the world joined American Christians last Thursday to give thanks to God for His love, answered prayers, kindness, faithfulness, mercy, and benevolence. Those of us in Nigeria also created time to shower God with thanks and praises. In our ministry, we gathered to look at all that we have accomplished this year. We were dumbfounded and all we could do was lift our voices and give God thanks.
We remembered that despite all the hardships and persecution we’ve endured, we are all standing. We gave God praise because the threats of the enemies to stop us from advancing the Gospel could not stop us from accomplishing His will.
The sad part is that I do recall moments when I grumbled — when I became bitter due to unanswered prayers. Why is it that we seem to forget when Scripture tells us to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”? ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Thanking God in all circumstances seems to be a very difficult thing for me, but I have also realized that it is a weapon that mesmerizes the devil and renders him impotent. When I listed all our unanswered prayers and unpleasant circumstances, I summoned the courage to thank God for each one of them and I noticed a sudden sense of joy and victory. Even though we wanted to quit taking the Gospel to the unreached, we still continued.
Even in the midst of ugly situations in our lives, I have come to realize that God is in control. No wonder Paul emphatically said that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:35).
We can prove our love for God by not allowing trouble, hardship, persecution, hunger, nakedness, or any other challenge, to stop us from doing what God has called us to do.
Christians should not only thank God for blessings and favorable circumstances; we should also thank Him for counting us worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ and His Gospel. It might surprise us to note that all Christians are called to suffer for Christ (Philippians 1:29). It is also important for us to know that those who are chosen to reign with Christ are also enlisted to suffer with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). Are we not supposed to be thankful to God for counting us worthy to partake in Christ's sufferings?
Thanking God in all circumstances is proof of Christian maturity. We should not be fair-weather Christians who extol God when the going is good and grumble during times of difficulty. Imagine how content God will be if all hardships Christians experience end in praises and Thanksgiving to God. Heaven will surely rejoice because the devil will remain a loser.
The Apostle James outright said that trials are good for Christians: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2). Peter also admonished us to be happy when we suffer for the sake of Christ: “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).
It is obvious that unpleasant circumstances that God allows to happen to His children will surely end in His glory and give us joy unspeakable. Let us learn to give thanks to God in such circumstances because it is His will concerning our lives.