Skip to content
February 3, 2013 / glennlim thots

When does one thank God?… “In” or “For”?

*This article is dedicated to the family of Nigel and Donovan Yap, who lost their lives on 28th Jan 2013 when they were hit by a cement mixer truck at Tampines. 

Story here

Another article here


When we are going through ‘stuff’, it is actually easy to quote from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks IN all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you…” with the emphasis on “IN” …All circumstances include the negative experiences…

I say it’s easy because this verse suggests an abdication of responsibility on our part when things don’t go well. Bad things do happen in life. We didn’t ask for them. And our usual responses include –  ‘God allowed it’, or ‘God knows what He’s doing’, ‘There must be a greater purpose’, or ‘He’s in control’…and all we’re admonished to do is give thanks in all of these circumstances, good and bad.

Ephesians 5:20 (NASV) “…always giving thanks FOR all things in the name of our Lord…” Now the emphasis is on “FOR” …Here’s an interesting twist, because now, instead of just giving thanks during our negative circumstance (‘In all’), we’re urged to give thanks ‘for it’. There is now a direct obligation to line up our thoughts and hearts along with God’s, and give thanks with a conviction as though we asked for and welcomed these circumstances into our lives! We are no longer disengaged from our negative circumstances with prayers like “God, even though I don’t understand what I’m going through, I still thank you for you are God.”…Based on Eph 5:20, we are now praying to the likes of “God, I thank you FOR this thing that has happened to me…”, or “Thank you God FOR giving me…” This verse positions us as eager recipients of such circumstances, like kids receiving presents, and then saying “Thank you FOR this gift!”

It is a difficult prayer to pray. It gives new meaning to “Consider it pure joy when you go through trials of many kinds.” How do you tell someone who has lost his job to give thanks FOR his retrenchment? Or a parent who has just lost her child to give thanks to God FOR that accident? Or  a woman who was badly raped to be thankful FOR that?…It is easier to thank God when you’re merely IN that situation, but a totally different matter altogether when you’re asked to thank Him FOR it!

Yet we’re asked to be thankful FOR all things…Why?

…Because His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Neither are our interpretations or definitions of our circumstances the same as His. And when we thank Him, and keep on thanking Him, it changes our thinking, mindset, aligning our perspective to His. The repeated articulation of gratitude is likened to the repeated declaration of His goodness. We start believing that God’s ways are not only higher, but better then ours. More importantly, we shut the door to the enemy’s work that so pervasively attacks our minds. It is during such trials that the devil leverages his schemes to gain a foothold in the garden of our distracted minds, sowing discouragement, discord and doubt. I believe God, in His wisdom, has given us a ‘weapon of gratitude’. When we keep thanking and praising Him in the midst of testing, we will ensure our alignment and allegiance is on God’s terrain. Understanding may not come quickly, but we will begin to see our situations from the eyes of God. We start to think with the mind of Christ. And our resolve and strength will come from the heart of the Father.

Psalm 71:14 – “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

If you are in one of these trials, keep calm, keep your spirit and head lifted up, keep thanking…Glenn Lim


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: