Giving Thanks When We’re Stressed

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Stress: it’s a world we all know far too well. A variety of factors can bring about stress such as school, work, finances, current events, health, and relationships. Truthfully, I don’t have all the answers. As a Christian, naturally, I would adhere to a Biblical worldview. We believe that in Christ, we find our peace. However, most of us don’t seem to turn to Christ at all when our stress level rises.

Have you ever had a day where you were so incredibly busy that you forgot to eat? You get home at the end of the night and wonder why your stomach hurts. It’s not until you stop for a moment that you realize you haven’t eaten and that’s why your stomach is upset. Why do we do that? How is it possible that we could forget to eat? That’s what stress does. We often forget or neglect the simplest of tasks because we’re so preoccupied with other things.

How often do we become stressed and neglect our Bible study? Prayer? Worship? Fellowship? As a matter of fact, sometimes those are the first things we cut out. We justify putting our relationship with God on the back burner because of stress. If I’m being honest, I’m as guilty as anyone. If I’m stressed out, I won’t read my Bible before bed because I’m tired and just want to watch television.

As 1 Thessalonians says, we should never stop praying, rejoicing, or being thankful. Our worship doesn’t come to a screeching halt because our circumstances have changed. As a matter of fact, this is something unique to the Christian. We have this hope in Christ that allows of to rejoice no matter what happens. I think of Job: the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

We all throw our hands up and say, “why me?” in times of trouble. Why do I need to put new tires on my car? I really can’t afford this right now. Why did my husband lose his job? We have a mortgage. Why did my kids get sick? I can’t afford to take time off work. What makes God look pretty awesome is when our lives are falling apart and we can lift our hands and say, “My God is still good.”

Further more, why don’t we ever ask “why me?” when times are good? What did I do to deserve a healthy baby? Why did God allow me to get that promotion? Why did God choose to bless me? We never look at it that way. We’re quick to shake our fist at heaven but we require mountains to be moved before we say thank you.

Lastly, at the risk of coming across as a cliche and stereotypical Christian, perhaps we need a more eternal focus. The truth of the matter is that Christ atoning for our sins is enough to require a life of worship. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, those who believe will spend eternity with Him. Praise God! Maybe we spend too much time stressing over frivolous matters and not enough time keeping our focus Godward.

If you’re in a time of stress, please, don’t stop worshiping. Don’t stop giving thanks. Don’t stop talking to God. Continue to say God is good even when your life seems to be falling apart. Don’t let stress get the best of you. Praise the One who made you, in the drought and in the storm.

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