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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Preparing for Thanks

Paul says: "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As our family prepares for Thanksgiving next week, I couldn't help reflecting on these words.

Give thanks IN all circumstances.

Giving thanks FOR all circumstances is how I think many people read this verse. They seem to think that God has just zapped them with another thunderbolt when they've become too comfortable, and they must thank God for His action, like a child thanks (?) a parent for a spanking. God is seen as the cause of the trouble, whatever it may be.

But as I meditated on this verse, and having learned a very little about the character of God from His word, I don't think this is right. The Lord is a loving God who walks with us through problems. He doesn't zap, and He doesn't scold. Bad circumstances are overcome by His love that sustains. I believe the Lord weeps with us in our sorrows.

Yes, He permits bad things to happen, but everything is filtered through His loving care and perfect knowledge of all that will come of these things, not only in this life but in the next. We give thanks IN all circumstances, because no matter how bad it is, the Lord still reigns.


In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm pulling out favorite recipes. Here's one that my daughter, especially, enjoys.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup oil (or margarine or butter)
1/2 cup (crunchy) peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Blend oil, peanut butter, sugars, and egg until smooth. Sift and add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Refrigerate dough for an hour. Oven 375F. Roll into small balls, then flatten crossways with a fork. Bake 10-12 minutes.

NOTE: Instead of refrigerating and rolling, I usually just drop the dough onto the cookie sheets as soon as it's mixed. It works fine. I hate getting my hands greasy :-)


Jane Lebak said...

I think we should give thanks FOR all circumstances, actually. Because if God has allowed it to happen, it's happening to us for our own good, and when evil befalls us, it happens in a controlled fashion so that it will raise us to new understanding. I'm not saying that lightly, either. The day after my daughter died, I surprised myself in prayer by saying "Thank you" because of the way everything had worked out so perfectly (barring the one miracle I had truly wanted.)

But one doesn't preclude the other. It's not that EITHER we thank God and God tried to harm us, or that we thank God anyhow and God is in our sorrow with us. We certainly can thank God for being with us when a terrible thing happened and thank God ahead of time for the good He's sure to bring from whatever trial it is.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I'll stick to the Scripture, and give thanks in the midst of everything, confident He works all for good.

Just because He CAN work sin and evil for good doesn't mean it should happen. How much more will He work obedience and goodness for good? : )