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“In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Imagine a beautiful, sunny day. Your plan is to hike a mountain trail. As you begin, you can’t help but notice the beauty of the trees, the blue sky, the birds and animals scurrying about.

After walking for a while, you notice that there is a pebble in your shoe. Well, you don’t want to bother sitting down and taking your shoe off, so you try to ignore it and enjoy your hike anyway. It may not take long for the pebble in your shoe to seem bigger than the entire mountain you’re climbing!

Sometimes we focus our attention so much on the uncomfortable things in life, that we miss many of the wonderful things. Truly, the pebbles in our shoes can make us very angry. We can also think of things like stubbing our toe on the chair or getting a flat tire. Some people call these things bad luck.

Do you remember what our text said? It said: “In everything give thanks.” When you first heard it, did you wonder about it? In EVERYTHING give thanks? While changing a flat tire or washing our skinned knee, it’s not likely that we are going to feel particularly thankful. Yet the Lord does tell us that we can and should be thankful in everything.

How can we possibly be thankful for the pebbles in our shoes?

Look at the entire passage: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus.” God wants to make it possible for us to be cheerful and thankful no matter what. To that end He shares with us some information about Himself, especially about His Son, that gives us an entirely different way of looking at everything.

God wants to deliver us from the very worst things, such as sin, guilt, punishment, and eternal death. He does not want us to go to hell. He does want us to live forever with Him in Paradise.

Since that is what He wants, He is going to do everything necessary to make it possible. “Everything” includes sending His beloved Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross for us. He punished Jesus for our sins, so that we need not be punished. And Jesus was willing to do it because of His great love for us.

God cares about us so much that He is involved in all our life. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows when to give us things that make life fun and cozy. He also knows when something uncomfortable is needed.

He may place a pebble in our shoe so that we must sit down, remove it, and therefore won’t reach a point on the trail at the same time when the mountain lion does. On occasion, the pebble slows us down that we may more fully appreciate the many things He has placed along the way for us to enjoy. It may serve just to keep us humble. God is involved in the smallest details of our life. Whether it is our favorite candy bar or a flat tire, God knows just what to provide for us and how to make it all work together for us to eventually join Him in heaven (Romans 8:28).

That is why we can thank God for everything, even for the pebbles in our shoes.