ANOTHER 365; IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE Andy Hollifield 11-22-18
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
These are two of the verses that I wrestle with the most. As a matter of fact, I used to preach wrong concerning thanksgiving. I used to say that the bible says “In all things give thanks, not for all things.” I was wrong on both verses. It actually says; “In everything give thanks.” If you pray and study and walk close to the Lord, you can learn to give thanks “In everything” no matter what the situation. You can always see how it could have been worse and therefore you can be thankful that it wasn’t. But “Giving thanks always for all things” comes a whole lot harder. It don’t matter who you are, it goes against our nature to be thankful always for the trouble that hits our lives.
You have to admit, that is exactly what it says to do. It’s easy to be thankful for blessings and all the good things of life, but not so much for the bad things. Death, sickness, car trouble, financial hardship, and family problems get us drug down, not lifted up. Romans 8:28 still says “And we know, that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Let me give you a recent example that happened in my life. I went this week to a doctor concerning some tremors I have been having for several months now. I know tremors are often related to Parkinson’s disease. Needless to say, I found it pretty hard to be thankful about that possibility. I tried to not let on to my wife that I was a little nervous about it. I prayed and thanked God for being with me and for his grace being sufficient. I asked him to help me be strong and faithful and put my trust in him regardless of the outcome. After a pretty thorough exam from both the PA and then the doctor, I was given the news. I did not have Parkinson’s. Thank God for that. I was also told that the tremors I described weren’t even the kind related to Parkinson’s. Needless to say, I can now be thankful for the tremors I have because the outcome could have been a lot worse. If it had of been worse, my reaction would have been much different. It would have taken some prayer to be able to be thankful for that disease. Even in that case, there would have been a lot worse things I could have had.
This year has been rough and disappointing in a lot of ways. But on the other hand, we have had a lot of blessings this year also. Psalms 25:17 says, “…Bring thou me out of my distresses.” Psalms 107:6 says, “…He delivered them out of their distresses.” Psalms 107:13 says, “…He saved them out of their distresses.” “Delivered” and “saved” are past tense as well as the word “cried.” In verse 19, the writer uses the word, “saveth.” That is present tense and is an on-going thing. That also applies to “bringeth” in verse 28. Psalms 107:28 says, “…He bringeth them out of their distresses.” All of those verses talk about God’s people crying out to him needing help. Here is a good thought for you; in verse 28, he can’t bring someone out if he is not in there with them. All of these verses mention a few things in common. “Cry” or “cried.” Also, they all talk about God’s people being in “trouble” and “distresses.”
This may have been a hard year, but God has always been with us, saving and delivering us and giving his blessings in abundance. I guess when you look at it; we have truly had “Another 365” of God’s goodness and provision and “It could have been worse.” It wouldn’t hurt any of us to count our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving and have a blessed day in the Lord!!!