Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Difference A Preposition Makes


I'll let you guys in on a secret. Since I've declared myself a "writer," I've faced rejection like never before. For every compliment or encouragement I receive about my work, I encounter at least two rejections. So, I figure, why not share some of the love here?

The following devotional was rejected by a popular publisher of devotionals. It's not the best writing I've ever done, but I'd hoped to encourage people to have grateful hearts during the holidays, despite the painful experiences the year may have brought them.

I have a cousin that lost her mother a few days after Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving approaching, how can she be thankful for losing her most faithful confidant, cheerleader and friend? What about the family that just discovered their precious little girl has a rare form of cancer? What about the rest of us with our various disappointments, challenges and unrealized dreams?

I'd like to propose that when we speak of I Thessalonians 5:18, we often misquote it. There's a little tiny word, a simple preposition even, that we change that makes all the difference in the world. Read on to see what I mean...

Giving Thanks In Everything
Read Philippians 4:4-7
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
            After thirteen weeks of blissful pregnancy, an ultrasound confirmed my doctor’s prognosis. My sweet baby’s heart had ceased to beat. Already a mom to a four-year-old son, I prepared my heart to send him to prekindergarten. Having lost one child to miscarriage, my first-born would now leave me home alone everyday.
            I soon discovered I was pregnant again. However, after six weeks, I lost this baby too. Devastated, I questioned God’s love for me. If He loved me, how could He allow so much suffering and loss in my life? After spending many days in prayer and in God’s Word, I clung to the promises of His love for me. I believed that His love for me was settled on the cross of Calvary over two thousand years ago.
            Yet how could I be thankful for the tragedies and disappointments of life? Did God really expect me to give thanks for these circumstances? As I searched this scripture more closely, I noticed something. I Thessalonians 5:18 encourages us to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Even when we face trials that we can't possibly be thankful for, we can thank God while we're in those circumstances. Thank Him for the strength to face another day. Thank Him for never leaving us. Thank Him for the promise of heaven where we will never experience disease or death again.
Thank you God, for Your presence during the storms of life. May we have hearts of gratefulness in all circumstances. Amen.

Thought For The Day
During Thanksgiving, no matter what difficulties we face, we can give Him thanks.

Giving Thanks In Everything,


  1. I thank God now (hindsight) for the ugly events that led me to see myself as "different" from those around me. I realize now that I wasn't thankful for that fact during the ugly long episode-- either for that (obviously, since it was a nasty thing), nor for any other things that were actually "good" outside of that stuff during those times. I was just miserable-- totally in a selfish "I can't believe this is happening to ME" and "Why Me??" kind of way to see outside of myself and notice all the positives and blessings that had come and were coming my way. Not thankful "for" all circumstances and not thankful "in" all circumstances. But now I see what God was doing with me: he was opening my eyes to see a reality that I was not seeing. I am "different". My family is mixed and therefore "unique"... and I realized we all (family) needed a "special place" to grow spiritually... and so we came to find MOSAIC church in Conway. And I am VERY thankful for that... getting it ingrained to be thankful always... "in" all things, regardless of what they are. Happy Thanksgiving in a special way

  2. Thanks for sharing Zarina! It's hard to be thankful in the difficult circumstances of life, but it brings so much peace. I'm so glad you and your family came to Mosaic. We love you guys!!!