“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)
A frequently asked question within the Christian community is, “What is the will of God for my life?” Honestly, I’ve asked this question many times myself. We often complicate this question by examining it through the lens of our vocation or destiny while failing to view God’s will in its simplicity.
Paul clearly states that thankfulness in all circumstances is God’s will for all who belong to Jesus. Notice that Paul wrote to give thanks in everything, not for everything. Could he be revealing a key that unlocks God’s purposes in our life?
In Acts 16, there is an account of Paul and Silas in Philippi, the prominent city of Macedonia at that time. On their way to a prayer meeting, a girl having a spirit of divination followed them closely, continuously crying out prophetic utterances. When this continued for several days, Paul became greatly annoyed, turned around, and commanded the spirit that possessed her to come out.
Because this girl brought her masters great profit from fortune-telling, and now that was lost, they violently dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace and presented them to the authorities. This resulted in Paul and Silas being severely whipped and afterward imprisoned under maximum security.
During the midnight hour, while chained and in pain, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. As the other prisoners listened, suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison, causing all the doors to open and everyone’s chains to be loosed. When the prison guard realized what had happened, he desperately ran before Paul and Silas, asking, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30 NKJV). After Paul and Silas shared the gospel, the prison guard and his whole family were converted.
Despite a series of unfortunate events, rather than complain about the unfair treatment they received, Paul and Silas chose to give thanks to God. This enabled them to magnify God above their present circumstances. As they worshiped the Lord, this positioned them to receive divine breakthrough and deliverance. Thanksgiving unlocked God’s purpose in their situation. God suddenly invaded their prison and set them free—also leading to the salvation of the prison guard and his family.
Victory is on the other side of your praise! Thankfulness sees beyond the present and fixes its gaze on the One with Whom all things are possible—resulting with breakthrough! Be diligent to offer God thanks in all areas and seasons of your life.