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3/16/09

Joy in Everything

Joy in Everything

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.
James 1:2

No small amount of harm has been done by well-intentioned Christians who misquote a particular Bible verse when attempting to comfort the grieving: "Don't forget that Scripture says to, ‘Give thanks for all things.'" Actually, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 doesn't say, "For everything give thanks;" it says, "In everything give thanks." And there is a world of difference between those two small words.

The Bible doesn't say we should rejoice and give thanks for the event that has caused our grief, suffering, or impatience—a lost job, the death of a loved one, or an unmet expectation. But it does say we should give thanks in (in the midst of) that situation. And why should we do that? Because giving thanks to God is an expression of our confident faith that He is aware of our situation and our need. The Bible is filled with expressions and promises that give us reason to trust God in the midst of trials and tribulations (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 11:11-13; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 4:19).

Joy and thanksgiving in the midst of troubles are not normal in this world. But that is why we are exhorted to express them. Joy in the midst of trials is another sign that we are in, but not of, this world.

Joy is the serious business of heaven.
C. S. Lewis





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