“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Last fall I was reading a book by Debbie Macomber called One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity, and discovered a simple truth that has had a profound effect on my prayer life and subsequently what God has been able to do in my heart.
In chapter one she tells the story of Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in an over-crowded, flea-infested barracks. They had a bible and were able to read God’s word and pray together. When Betsie insisted that they thank God for the fleas, the other women, including her own sister, thought she was crazy. But she insisted. She had read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and taken God’s words to heart. So they followed her lead and thanked God for many things – including the fleas.
It was not until later that they understood why they had never been bothered by the guards as they prayed, and why the bible they had in their possession had never been found; why there had never been a search. The guards would not step foot in the barracks because of the fleas! What had surely been a constant torment for those women, and could have been a source of anger and resentment was actually a gift of protection from God!
Let your mind wander back over the last few days. What has frustrated you, irritated you, made you want to take prisoners and eat way too much chocolate? Did you stop to give thanks in any of those times? No? Well, you’re not alone. It is not human nature to respond with gratitude for those things that irritate us. Had I been in that concentration camp my response – if I was talking to God at all – would likely have been something like, “Is it not enough that you let me be brought to this horrible place? Do I have to endure being eaten alive by fleas too?” I know me. Gratitude would not have been my first, second, third, thought. How about you?
Is there a difficult circumstance you're dealing with right now? Something that seems bad no matter what angle you approach it from? If so, try this today: don't ask God to fix it or remove it, simply thank him for how he will use it in your life to make you more like him. That's all. Just thank him. Don't forget to come back later and let us know what a difference God has made in your life because of this prayer.