by Randy Clay.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

 St. Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV).

Paul, are you serious?  Give thanks in ALL circumstances?  There isn’t a circumstance that gets a pass?  I wish he had said ‘some’ or ‘most – or even ‘more often than not’…..but ALL?

Let me share some circumstances in my life that have challenged me to give thanks.

  • My father passed away very suddenly when I was just sixteen. I was angry at God for a long time. How could I give thanks in THAT circumstance?  Well, instead of being angry at God for no longer having a father, I started a “thanks list” thanking him for the dad I had.  He was a man of faith.  He served others.  He loved me.  He was funny.  He lived with a purpose. So, I gave thanks for the time I had with him and the legacy he left me instead of being angry for the time I didn’t have.

Give thanks in all circumstances. Here is another.

  • I’ve had skin cancer about a dozen times. Had three skin-grafts. Two years ago the doctor took off about half my scalp (not an exaggeration).  Very painful surgery.  A long recovery period.  I could sit and wallow in my depression, or I could follow Paul’s advice to give thanks. So, I sat down and did my “thanks list”.  The list looked something like this:
    • It didn’t kill me
    • I found a hairdresser that figured out how to hide the bare skin
    • It helped me not take another day for granted
    • I live just twenty minutes away from one of the world’s leading cancer research hospitals
    • I had some great conversations with doctors, nurses and other patients.

When faced with a huge or small circumstance, make a “thanks list”.  Stop and pray your list.  Pray that list several times a day. Whatever the circumstance, when you find yourself getting into a funk…. make a “thanks list,” pray it and pray it again and again!

Giving thanks in ALL circumstances…what a powerful thing!

Okay, be thankful. Today. Right now! In ALL your circumstances.


Randy Clay is the preaching minister for the Cross Tower Church in West Jordan, Utah since 1993. He loves to read, draw, watch movies (especially sports movies), cheer on his beloved Razorbacks, and visit Mayberry when he can. He and his wife Kathy married in 1984 and have three beautiful daughters. He has survived nearly a dozen bouts with skin cancer…and remains thankful.