The holidays have come and gone and we now look ahead to not only what the new year brings, but also the new decade.
As my family and I recently moved to Ohio from North Dakota to take the role of pastoring First Assembly, we are still adjusting to our new life. In the midst of the many changes we have experienced as a family, I can’t help but pause and reflect on all God’s blessings that he has bestowed on us. I also recall some of the stressful times that moving and transition brings.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul calls us to give thanks in all circumstances as it is Christ’s will for the church. It is easy to be thankful when life is good and when things seem to be progressing for the better. But what about the difficult times in which you simply can’t find it in yourself to think of any positivity in the situation?
The Old Testament story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is a great reminder of how to keep the right perspective in aiming to be thankful at all times. When Daniel faced a storm, we will learn that his foundation in God had already been laid.
In other words, he had a battle plan already in place when he faced the dilemma of whether to bow and worship King Darius or continue to serve his God at the risk of being executed. Daniel’s response to this predicament was going back home to pray and giving thanks to God just as he always did.
This action ultimately led him to be thrown into the Den of Lions. Naturally this means that it’s all over for Daniel and that he is a goner. But God had a way different plan. In the midst of this storm and through Daniel’s radical obedience and faithfulness to God, God preserved Daniel by sending an angel to save him from being succumb by the deadly lions. Not only did God save Daniel because of his obedience and steadfast devotion, he also prospered Daniel with great success.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in a moral dilemma and you chose to honor God through it all. Maybe you have faced a circumstance beyond your control but you decided deep down you are going to remain faithful and obedient to God.
Perhaps you may not relate with the Daniel in how God intervened in the situation in such a mighty way. Maybe you have felt all alone at times and that God is too distant. I don’t know why God seems present in some circumstances and other times He seems silent.
What I do know is that God cares no matter what comes our way and we can be better prepared to weather the storms by laying our foundation in Him.
Creating a life of thanksgiving in every situation will ultimately help us to honor God no matter what the next year and decade may bring.