"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18); "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Colossians 4:2).
What faith it takes to give thanks in all circumstances, especially the circumscribed ones! God's will becomes ours when we can accept divine providence as our confidence of His divine love, as well. The seemingly unbearable yoke that presses on our neck becomes lined with down when we can say, "Thank You, Father, for this, too!"
"And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, `Father, I thank You that You have heard Me" (John 11:41). What a perfect prayer of faith! We, too, can look up and thank Him and know that our Father hears our prayers. "Before they call I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24). What a comfort it is to know that we are heard and our anguished prayer answered, even before we present our petitions!
The following is an excerpt from On The High Road Of Surrender, by Frances J. Roberts, a dear friend, mentor and one of the finest Christian writers I know:
"Rejoice in the Lord always, for as you rejoice and give thanks, you release heaven's treasures and shower upon your head the blessings of a delighted Father. Nothing so thoroughly delights the Father's heart as the praises of His children.
"For praise exercises the heart toward gratitude, and gratitude nurtures contentment, and you may know for a certainty that no fruit ever appears on the tree of discontent.
"So praise, My children, and never cease in your praising, for in the midst of it I will manifest Myself, and you will understand that when I demand of you your praises it is for your highest good.
"Out of praises come courage, faith, strength, optimism, clarity and peace. Out of praises come health and happiness and the soul satisfaction men seek in the world and do not find.
"Praise will transform the humblest dwelling to a hallowed haven. It will light the countenance and make the plainest face beautiful. It is impossible for the man who has learned unceasing praise to be a failure. God's blessing attends his path, and God's Spirit rules his heart. He is eternally at peace with both God and man."
I know from personal experience that "out of praises come courage, faith, strength, optimism, clarity and peace." Praise is a wonderful ointment for the wounds of life. Thanksgiving is a mark of the Christian; an unthankful heart is a mark of the wicked. "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful ... " (Romans 1:21). "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be ... ungrateful ..." (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
O Father, thank You for everything that happens in our lives -- we know it is covered with Your love, for You can do nothing that harms us.