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Give Thanks In All Circumstances

by Elizabeth Hinckley

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’m very sad this week, and very anxious. The circumstances of my life seem to have changed dramatically over the past month, and I am tempted to despair at the changes. Some of our closest and dearest friends in Greenwood, the people we share 2-3 meals a week with, who we almost weekly share childcare and almost monthly share dog care with, the only people in Greenwood that my kids call Uncle and Auntie, have moved thousands of miles away. I have a new job that reminds me daily of their absence, because it was his old job. I sit in my (his) office and wonder at the changes, and I feel sad and anxious. I cry out as Paul did in his letter to the Romans: Wretched man (woman) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

My justification is no less complete and my gradual sanctification and eventual glorification are no less guaranteed, now that my earthly circumstances have changed. In fact, in the most important way my circumstances have remained utterly unchangedthis past month. I was and still am in Christ, and He is in me.

These are my true, eternal, unchanging circumstances: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has unilaterally and permanently worked salvation for me in Christ through his perfect life, death, and resurrection. In Christ I am forgiven of all my sins, I am declared righteous before the Lord, and I can enjoy the presence of God, now and forever. In Christ I have already been delivered from certain death into certain life.

This is the good news about which I can still, in my sadness, rejoice.

This is the good news that prompts me, by and through the Holy Spirit, to continue to pray.

And this is the good news for which I can still, while anxious, give thanks.

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:1-3

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