top of page

Giving Thanks in All Things

Does He really want us to give thanks in all things?

By Dennis Rainey

Do you ever feel as though the circumstances of life are about to overwhelm you? It is said that we are worn down less by the mountain we climb than by the grain of sand in our shoe. I agree.

Would you like to know what pebbles seem to frequent my sneakers? Here’s a list I put together during our child-raising years:

· People who try to make me feel guilty.

· My unbalanced checkbook.

· My garage. (It continually proves the second law of thermodynamics—the universe is moving from order to disorder.)

· Sibling rivalry.

· Things that break and need fixing.

· A drippy faucet. A smoking fireplace. And a leaky pipe in the ceiling.

· Car problems that always occur at the most inopportune times.

· A whining child.

· Things that aren’t where I left them. Or forgetting where I left them.

· More sibling rivalry.

· An unresolved conflict with a family member.

Oh, and I haven’t yet mentioned one of the biggest irritants of all—tripping over all the stuff that six children can drag out! There have been times when the floors at our place were symbolic of a lot of life’s circumstances: piled with the unpredictable and regularly cluttered with chaos.

I once took a census of our floors: There were enough children’s books on the floor to load a good-sized library truck. I found enough dolls to populate Toy City. We had four girls living in our house and over 25 dolls.

And Legos! They drive me crazy—10 zillion pieces specially designed to disappear forever down heat registers, or to be sucked into the abyss of the vacuum cleaner.

In the dining room where we had just finished dinner, there was enough spilled food to feed a small African nation. Plus an empty coke can, two ribbons from some frazzled doll’s hair, and one coat (one of our children threw it there I guess hoping it would grow and multiply in the fertile debris of the floor).

Were we out of control? Partially. But doesn’t it happen to everyone from time to time? Little things get to us. Frequently.

Honestly, big problems are difficult, and there are more serious problems that do confound us, but today, tonight, right now, this is where more of us live—in the midst of the little things. It’s called reality.

Where is God?

Is God involved in the details of life? Could God possibly want to teach us something in a flat tire? Does He really want to invade every moment of our day, or would He prefer to reserve the 9:30 a.m. until noon on Sunday mornings?

One of the most practical spiritual truths is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18—”…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the concept of giving thanks in all things. It was 100 percent foreign to me. I didn’t think like that. I was used to either calling things “bad luck,” getting ticked off, or just shrugging my shoulders while muttering, “What’s the use?”

But I began to practice this newly found command and to my amazement I started to notice a change in my attitude about life in general. I began to realize that God wanted to invade every area of my life. Every area.

Learning to give thanks

Does He really want us to give thanks in all things? “I mean c’mon, isn’t that a bit fanatical?” you might ask. Why could this possibly be so important to God? Let me suggest three reasons.

First, giving thanks in all things expresses faith—faith in the God who knows what He’s doing—faith in the God who sovereignly rules in all that happens to us. Isn’t that what He wants from us?

Second, He commanded us to give thanks because He knew we wouldn’t do it naturally. Giving thanks in all things means I am no longer walking as a mere man, grumbling and griping about “stuff,” but walking as a spiritual man (1 Corinthians 2:14-15)—a man who sees God at work … even in the grains of sand that tend to fill my shoes.