'Real Answers' by Pastor Bruce Sofia'
QUESTION: THE BIBLE SAYS, “WE ARE TO GIVE THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, BUT HOW CAN I SAY ‘THANKS’ FOR MY HUSBAND DYING?”
Great question. There are many passages in Scripture that seem contradictory to life. Certainly this is one of them. Let’s take it one step further: How does a husband who is a Doctor by profession give thanks for a mother, 40 years of age, suddenly taken, leaving four boys ranging in age from 11-18? How do the parents of an 18 year old give thanks for the loss of their son? How does a parent give thanks for a young teenage daughter who takes her own life? (These are real life situations of which I have had to deal with over the past couple of years.) Certainly these are tough questions – but they are not without answers.
Let’s look at the verses that reference “giving thanks” in and for all situations.
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will sat it again: Rejoice!
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; (17)pray continually’ (18) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Why can we give thanks in all and for all circumstances as Christian believers?
1. We do not see the whole picture – God does.
I Corinthians 13:12 tells us:
For now we see through a glass darkly; then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
With that in mind, the question is: Can we trust Him? Because evil/harm comes our way does not mean God is the orchestrator of that evil, however since we belong to Him, as we ask for His divine intervention in the daily routine of life (Matthew 6:11) we can rest upon the promise of Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28.
2. As believers nothing can touch our lives without His permission.
Consider Job – Satan had to ask permission to touch what belonged to him. Consider Peter – Satan had to ask to touch Peter. God gave Satan permission and told Peter He had given the Enemy permission and that he (Peter) would fail. But look at the why:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (32)But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
3. We may not understand it here, but one day we will understand that there is always a reason why.
With these three thoughts in mind: 1) There is always a reason why, 2) As believers nothing can touch us without God’s permission, and 3) We do not see the whole picture but God does, we can rest in the promise of Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is the day, to save many people alive.
Why should we give thanks when we have lost a loved one or spouse?
When we give thanks for what we do not understand, when we give thanks for what appears to us, “who see in part,” for what seems to make no sense, we remove from ourselves and entrust to God the burden of “working out all things for our good.” Whether we made the mess (as in the case of Abraham and Hagar), or someone else made the mess (as in the case of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery), the end result was for good. In the case of Abraham, God mercifully made of Ishmael a great nation (the Arabs of today); in the case of Joseph, God used him to save an entire nation, Israel.
When we do not understand there is always a better and bigger picture. Hence, when we “give thanks” our mourning turns into dancing and our gloom into joy for we are trusting one who is all powerful in all circumstances. Even if you must force yourself to “give thanks in all things,” do it –it will be life in the midst of death, joy in the midst of sorrow and peace in the midst of confusion. Psalms 30:11, Philippians 4:7
Pastor B. Sofia