Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"In Everything"

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

If we are to give thanks to God "in everything," it must be that God is giving to us in everything.

Our spiritual understanding and apprehension is at present too limited to see more than a tiny portion of the Divine generosity that flows to us in every moment. It flows nevertheless, and in the most basic sense, our very existence is an ongoing gift of God. "By Him all things consist" wrote the Apostle Paul, and this includes ourselves (Colossians 1:17). The writer of Hebrews amplifies the point by declaring that the Lord Jesus Christ upholds all things by "the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3). Therefore, we have cause for expressing gratitude in every moment simply for the gift of being and existence.

On the surface, this may seem to be merely a technical expression of God's might. It is actually far more, and the truth will drive us to our knees in worship. The creation of the human race meant that the Lord Jesus would one day have to suffer and die in shame, agony, and lonely forsakenness by God and man. In the heart of His Father, Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Hebrews 13:8). Our continued existence, and especially the blessedness of believers' existence, is a gift to be considered always in the context of the wounds that still mark the hands, feet, and side of our Savior. "And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends" (Zechariah 13:6). Our Heavenly Father knew from eternity past that creating the human race would lead to the smiting of His own Son. The wounds of that dark hour still bear witness in the heart of God to the horrors of Calvary.

There are always countless things for which to give thanks to our wonderful Father in Heaven. If, however, we some day have difficulty in thinking of anything, the fact of our existence is a holy gift for which we can never express enough gratitude. It cost God to make us. It costs Him to sustain us. The simple fact that we are bears witness to a love infinitely beyond all comprehension. That we are blessed in Christ "with every good and perfect gift" furthermore declares to our redeemed hearts that even eternity won't be long enough to begin our anthem of praise and thanks. And so in this moment, we do what we can. We bow head and heart and give thanks for the most basic of gifts, our existence, realizing that it is perhaps also the gift that most bears witness to "the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).

"Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture... I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."
(Psalm 100:3)

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