Giving Thanks for the Taking (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Giving Thanks for the Taking (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Job blessed God for giving and for taking from him. We can understand why you would thank God for giving, but why would you thank God for taking from you?

God is sovereign

Everything that happens in this world is under the direct control of God. He rules over everything and everyone. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Even the bad things in life are directly under His control. Life and death are entirely in His hands. If you receive something, it is because He has given it to you; if you lose something, it is because He has taken it from you.

We cannot comprehend this

As human beings, we cannot understand or comprehend all that God is doing. He goes against our thoughts, desires, wishes, and wills all the time. We cannot fathom why a good man would die young, why a young girl would go hungry, or why the Holocaust took place. God’s thinking is simply beyond our comprehension.

Human suffering is real

Although God has given us much, He has also taken much from all of us. Every human being suffers in some form or fashion. It may be the loss of a loved one, marital problems, financial problems, or health issues, but we all suffer in some way, shape, or form. Even though God is in complete control of everything, He readily acknowledges that what He takes from us causes us pain and suffering.

God loves us

We find that although Jesus could easily have stopped Lazarus from dying He did not. He could have spared Job’s children, but He did not. In all these things we can begin to believe in a God that does not care for us or love us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God loves us, and He is using what He gives and what He takes away to accomplish HIs purposes for our lives.

God is making us like Jesus

God’s purpose for us is not temporal blessings or happiness. His goal is that we would become like His Son, Jesus. Everything He does in our lives is to that end. All the giving and all the taking are conforming us to the image of Christ. We learn compassion and grace out of our suffering. We learn patience and love out of our loss. God makes us like Jesus through all of life.

We must thank God for everything

Although Joseph suffered much he saw that it was part of God’s good plan. Although David suffered much he saw that God’s way was perfect. Paul suffered much and gloried in everything that God took from him. Christians give God the most thanks for the greatest loss and greatest evil the world has ever seen, the death of Jesus Christ. From that evil we see the greatest good for us. As believers, we walk by faith not by sight. We believe that God is sovereign. We believe that God loves us. We believe that God is good. We believe that God is conforming us to the image of Christ. Because of this we thank God for everything, including what He has taken away.

Application

Would you bless the Lord for all He has done? Would you turn to Christ?

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