Are we supposed to be thankful for all things?
I wrote on this a few years ago but I feel led to do it again. This will probably not go over very well and some may jump all over me…but here goes.
We love to quote the verse that says to give thanks in everything.
And we love to ignore the one that says to give “thanks always for all things.”
We sometimes even rationalize that in and for are the same word and the verses mean the same. Not true.
We can’t dismiss or even toss out what we don’t agree with in Scripture. So, if we want to be true to Scripture, we have to dig in and see what the Word says.
Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18 NKJV)
He also wrote, ‟Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6 NKJV)
In is a primary preposition that denotes a fixed position, whether in place, time, or state, and also means on, at, with, among, up, upon, by, etc.
Now, what did Paul write in Ephesians 5:20? ‟Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NKJV)
The Greek word for for is huper. It is also a primary preposition and means over, above, beyond, across, for the sake of, instead, regarding, or more than. If you look up all the uses of this word, you’ll see that only twice is it translated in, but it is used only in phrases, ‟in behalf of” (Phil. 1:29) and ‟in thy stead” (Philemon 13 KJV, or ‟on your behalf” in the NKJV).
I hear angry voices saying: You mean to tell me I’m supposed to give thanks for someone who abuses me? I’m supposed to give thanks for someone who took the life of my child? I’m supposed to give thanks for an accident that left me incapacitated? I’m supposed to give thanks for a spouse who left me? I’m supposed to give thanks for this devastating disease?
No, I’m not telling you. Paul is. God’s Word is.
So, what does that leave us? Well, as I see it, we are to do both, give thanks in and for.
Isn’t it difficult to do sometimes? Yes, absolutely, it’s very difficult to do. We may balk and kick our feet and shake our heads and praise and end up thanking the Lord through gritted teeth, but that’s a start.
Wouldn’t our prayer in either in or for be the same? Thank You, Lord, that You are with me, giving me strength, wisdom, and patience to deal with this circumstance. Thank You for being with me (or someone else) and for working in this situation. For whatever reason this is occurring, I give You thanks for the outcome of Your divine plan. Amen!
So, you can decide for yourself in your circumstances…
will you be thankful in or for? Or both!
Therefore, combining our verses, “Be anxious for nothing but by prayer and supplication, giving thanks always in and for everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for all of us.”
Giving thanks always…Lynn