I have read countless times over and over these verses from the Bible but it wasn’t until I read them in context in a book (The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom) did I realize that this was one of the keys to staying positive for me. I have a copy of this pinned up on the wall beside my desk so I can glance at it during the day at work…
1 Thessalonians 5:14-24 (ESV)
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
In the book Corrie and her sister Betsie had just been moved to new barracks in the concentration camp and found it was infested with fleas. It was Betsie who discovered God’s answer: ‘”Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”
They thanked God for the fact they were together. They thanked God they had a Bible. They even thanked God for the horrible crowds of prisoners, that more people would be able to hear God’s Word. And then, Betsie thanked God for the fleas.
“The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.” Corrie said… “Give thanks in all circumstances,” she (Betsie) quoted. ‘It doesn’t say, “in pleasant circumstances.” Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
You may not know why you are going through what seems to be hard to handle. God knows why. It may seem unfair or unjust. God will help you thought it and then use it to reach others and to help others. In the past I used to be very negative about everything. What does that really accomplish? Now that I have accepted Jesus in my heart I can’t afford to be negative… He has a plan for me that includes me being thankful in all circumstances no matter how unpleasant I think they are… by showing a positive attitude through a difficult situation you may help someone else who needed help. Might even bring someone to know Jesus through your positive attitude and the faith that it will work out how God wants it to… I may not know where I am headed but I trust that God knows what is best for me. I have seen it by just looking back at the past. I can see God guiding me even when I was running as far as I could get from Him but with his love He drew me back.
Just remember – “Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien