Monday, October 16, 2006

In every thing give thanks

In I Thessalonians 5:16, Paul said we are to "Rejoice evermore". Then in I Thessalonians 5:18 he writes, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Is the idea here that it is the will of God that we give thanks in every thing, or that we are to give thanks in every thing because every thing is the will of God? Or both? Or neither?

How can we give thanks in every thing if we do not recognize the Purpose and Providence of God in all things? If we agree with the philosophy of 'Alice Bowman' in Proof of Life -- "Things don't happen for a reason, they just happen" -- how can we possibly see things that happen as a reason to give God thanks? Some folks seem to get "nervous" when we talk about God working all things after the counsel of His own will and that He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. As Donald Kraybill said of the Amish, perhaps we should "yield to divine providence...and...let the analysis rest in the hands of God."

Satan was the direct instrument who took all Job had (see book of Job chap. 1, Old Testament). But Job seemed to understand that all things are in God's hands, proclaiming without sinning or charging God foolishly and giving thanks in all the things that came his way, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

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