Rejoice! Give Thanks In All Circumstances…
On December 13, 2020, I was set to give an advent talk to the members of a Catholic community. I have prepared my presentation but I was still not fully settled for my opening lines.
But that morning, while I was going through the readings of the day, I came across this verse, “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ (1 Thess 5:16-18).”
I said to myself, “Wow! What a powerful statement. Let me use that in my talk later.”
And so I did.
But in my sharing with them, I didn’t give a theological explanation to that verse. I am not a theologian after all. I am simply a Catholic faithful who many times fail and falter.
As I shared that verse, I also shared my questions.
I asked, “But how do we rejoice in the midst of struggles? How do we give thanks amidst struggles?”
It’s difficult, right? You might be nodding your head right now.
It is difficult to say “Thank you, Lord” when we are facing difficulties.
For me, as I young boy, I’ve been asking these questions.
“Why are we struggling?”
“Why are we poor?”
If you were one of my childhood friends, you would know that I would walk to school with my worn-out slippers.
I would embrace my hungry tummy every recess time because I had no money to buy some snacks. If my classmates would say, “My favorite subject is recess,” I couldn’t relate. My gut feeling would not get it. I had to use my intellect to understand that statement.
While the other kids in the neighborhood would spend their weekends running and playing around, I would have to go with my parents and siblings to the farm to harvest palay, till the soil, or plant rice. And so, I would enjoy those few weekends all-out playing when the works in the rice fields were done, which rarely happened because the truth is that farm works are never done. People would comment that we were hardworking. I’d say, “Maybe, we were. It was a choice with no other option. We had to or we would starve.”
I had experienced challenging days.
I had my own share of problems, challenges, and frustrations.
For sure, you also had your tough and tougher days.
And with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been challenged. We are being challenged.
Going out and going around were restricted. More and more people were getting sick. People were losing their jobs while others are closing businesses.
We were forced to adjust, to shift, to pivot.
Amidst all this sad news, it is also during these times when there are new discoveries in the field of science and health, there are new jobs and new ways of doing business.
Do you see them?
Do you recognize the blessing?
What is one struggle that you had and how did you overcome it? Big or small.
Yes, ponder on these questions.
As you do, you will realize that in the midst of struggles, you can still rejoice. In the presence of difficulties, you can still give thanks.
In fact, our rejoicing and thanksgiving are even more amplified when there are struggles. Because with them, we can appreciate more how blessed we are.
Do you agree with this?
To you, what gift have you received during this pandemic?
Share it in the comments.