1 Thes. 5:16-18
Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
I can remember times in my childhood when I jumped up and down thanking my parents for something I really wanted. Usually it was a cool pair of sneakers or maybe a trip to the local amusement park. Sometimes it could be something as simple as a dollar to go to the corner store and buy an ice cream sandwich or some candy. Fridays were usually a day of gratitude because that was the day I got my allowance. There clearly was a theme to the events which prompted me to thank my parents. It was always something I wanted but rarely something I needed. My gratitude certainly fluctuated based on our relationship and how often they said “yes” to my wishes.
It is easy to thank mom and dad for a gift or some money, but it is difficult to appreciate things such as discipline and the development of a good work ethic. We often behave the same way toward our heavenly Father. When our blessings look the way we expect them to look, we say “thank you” with smiles on our faces. When the trials come to develop us spiritually, we might respond with something other than gratitude because the fire can burn and bring pain. The thing is, God wants us to see the value in all of those things and to be thankful regardless of what He allows to come our way. Our gratitude toward him should not fluctuate based on our circumstances but should remain constant based on his goodness and holiness.
There is a basic truth which solidifies the notion that we should be grateful to God in all circumstances. That truth tells us that He is good and only can do good. That means that we can never blame him for tragedy or be angry with him because we have struggles. He is only good, and our proper response to him can be only gratitude and appreciation. When He gives a gift, it is a perfect gift. When He allows trials, it is because He will use them for our good. This is how we are able to be thankful in all circumstances because we know that God’s goodness and holiness merit our continual gratitude. Father, teach us how to be grateful in all things and at all times, and give us a fresh revelation of your goodness.