Romans 8:28 makes a very bold statement in view of the many challenges that we face in life. It states in the amplified version that ” We know (with great confidence) that God causes all things to work together as a plan for GOOD for those who love God, to those who are cal led according to His purpose.”
l’m sure that many reading this could emphatically exclaim “How is that possible in light of the present circumstance (you fill in the blank) that I’m facing. What good could possibly come from this!”
Now join that together with 1 Thess 5:18 that instructs us “In EVERY situation, no matter what the circumstance, be thankful and continually give thanks to God for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Instead of looking at these two verses as being very difficult if not impossible to implement into our own very real lives, l would like to suggest that they are actually keys that can help us overcome very difficult times in our lives.
Let me share an experience from my own personal life that made me examine these two verses very closely. On July 4th, 2014 I had an accident that resulted in a broken back and serious spinal cord injuries. My life had changed in seconds. After4months of recovery I finally came home with a lower body that had not regained full function and I depended on a wheelchair for my mobility. I had many questions swirling about in my mind and even though I did not know the answers I knew that there would be answers in God’s word.
The first KEY came from the verse quoted above in Romans and Paul’s statement that “all things work together for good!” This required a faith response from me to believe that God STILL had a GOOD plan for my life. He had not been taken by surprise when I had the accident and He still had everything under control even if I didn’t. There was great peace that came when I began by faith to believe that God would fulfill His word and was still working His good plan for my life. I began to see the reality of this promise being fulfilled and I still continually look for the good plan that He has promised. By faith I believed that God is still in control!
The second answer came from the instruction in 1 Thessalonians to “give thanks” in every circumstance. Instead of viewing thankfulness as an odd response to a very difficult circumstance I began to realize that it was really written as a KEY to overcoming in a very difficult time. There are really two instructions in this verse. The first one is to “be thankful”. I call this gratitude. The second instruction is to “give thanks to God”. I call this praise and worship. One definition of gratitude is “to acknowledge the goodness in our lives” or “the readiness to show appreciation”. This became a daily practice for me by setting my mind on the many good things in my life. At first it was gratitude for the medical staff that served me, for the steadfast support of my family, for concerned visitors and for every victory in my recovery no matter how small it may be. I gained a new understanding that life truly is a precious gift from God and I strive to continue in this daily practice of gratitude to this day. I believe it to be a very valuable KEY that the word of God has given all of us to overpower the very real threats of discouragement, despair, hopelessness and failure.
The third KEY to overcoming in difficult circumstances is to “give thanks to God”. This action reinforces our understanding that God is truly in control and that He is greater than our circumstance, His love is unfailing, and He is true to His word and all of His promises. Hebrews 13:15 tells us to bring the “sacrifice” of praise to God. We often mistakenly think of this as giving our praise even when we don’t feel like it. What it means is to bring our praise to God as an “offering” or our gift to God. The action of bringing our praise or thanks to God will cause us to view our circumstance with a totally different perspective and to focus our mind on the One who can do the impossible.
I pray that no matter the circumstance that you may be experiencing right now, no matter how hopeless it may feel and how overwhelming it may be that you would apply the word of God and its countless promises to your life.