This can seem like a really serious verse if you or someone you love has an illness of some sort. Depression is common with most illnesses. It can be very difficult to have thankfulness in hard times. When we are thankful in difficult circumstances, we have more room to praise Him. Depression operates as a road block. When I am more thankful, there is a huge lifted burdened. My spirit doesn’t feel as heavy. I can look at life differently than when I am dealing with depression or discouragement.
When we are thankful, we are less likely to complain, let the illness get the worse of us, or drift away from God. We will either be thankful or complain. Maybe, we may vary from day to day due to symptoms. Today, I am thankful for my bed. Another day, I will struggle with being restricted to my bed. Lacking thankfulness or complaining doesn’t get us very far. It sends us the wrong direction than we actually want to go. We may not mean to be unthankful, but it happens. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us of this significant truth: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
In this verse, what sticks out is “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. God wants us to be happy, feel His joy, and be able to have thanksgiving in everything. Prayer is essential in giving thanks. God wants us to not be depressed. He wants to help us to look at life with joy and thankfulness. Our lives (and the things in them) are not meant to be a punishment, but it is to be a blessing. God has not only given us life, but with it He has given us purpose! Developing a closer walk with the Lord is essential in helping me to keep my joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so in order to have joy I need to stay close to my Jesus- developing a closer relationship with Him! I try to do this by listening to praise music, talking to the Lord, reading books about the Lord, engaging in Bible Study, and by talking with like-minded people who are seeking a closer walk with the Lord. Asking for prayer is one of these ways as well.
If we aren’t feeling the joy or thankfulness, we can bring that before the Lord, talk to Him about how we are really feeling, and seeking His help. One of the deepest promises God gives me is that He will never leave me. God is never going to abandon us. We can come to Him with anything. He is always there for us no matter what! He knows what I am facing, and He still stays by my side, helping me through each moment and day, and talking with me! <3 And best part: He can flood our hearts like nothing else can. He can give us a joy and peace that we have never experienced before!