I recently read a story about a King in Africa. This king had a close friend with a habit of looking at all situations, whether they were good or bad, and responding, "This is a good thing."
"This is a good thing!"
One day the king and his friend went hunting. However, a mistake was made in preparing the rifle. When the King took the gun from his friend and fired, the shot exploded, injuring the King's thumb.
Seeing the situation, the friend exclaimed, "This is a good thing," The King, in pain, shouted, "No, this is not a good thing; I have lost my thumb!" He was so angry he put his good friend in prison.
About a year later, the king was hunting again. It was a dangerous hunt for cannibals lived in the territory. The cannibals captured the King, bound him, and took him to their village. They threw him in a pit as they piled some wood and installed a stake. As they brought him to the stake for burning, they realized the King was missing his thumb. Because the tribal men were superstitious, they released the King immediately. They would never eat someone who was not whole.
The King fled the scene to return safely home. He remembered the event that caused him to lose part of his hand. As his friend's words, "this is a good thing," rang through his mind, guilt overwhelmed him for his cruelty to his once best friend. The next day, the king went to the prison to talk with his friend. He shared what had happened in his near-death excursion and begged for forgiveness. "I'm sorry for sending you to prison for so long. I am so evil to have treated you this way." To which his friend said, "No, this is a good thing!"
"What do you mean this is a good thing?" the King gasped. How is it possible that sending you to prison is a good thing?
"Because if I weren't in prison, I would have gone with the King," he responded.
Friends, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reads, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." Do you think this is realistic in our current reality? Do you practice this verse? (Ouch, right? - for me too!)
However, apparently as believers, we can live this out no matter our situation! This is God's will for our lives. We can live this because of God's assurance that if we trust him, he will be with us, guard us and provide for us. He does not promise we will never hurt or experience loss. He does promise that He will work all things according to our good. I believe there are great things ahead. I believe the pain of getting there will never be greater than the joy we find in Him along the way. We can look back and know that the pain in the journey was worth it. We can genuinely say, "This is a good thing."
Chris Tiegreen says it this way, "Several passages of Scripture assure us that we are headed for a glorious future. And the pain of getting there will never outweigh the glory we find. In the end, we will look back and say about everything, "Yes, this was worth it." So why not say it now? If this will be our perspective when we see all things clearly, why shouldn't we go ahead and embrace it when we can't? That's what it means to give thanks in all circumstances. It's to acknowledge that all things - even the hard ones- are working together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Gratitude says, "Yes, Lord, It's true even before we see it with our own eyes. (For Chris' full devotional, Click Here
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)
I don't know what you are facing today. However, I challenge you to respond to life's events with "This is a good thing." Our Lord is able to work all things out for our good. If this is true, and I believe it is, then why not go ahead and embrace it?
This is a good thing.
(Story slightly adjusted from YouVersion Church Bible App. The above story is written by Bethany Church. The plan is entitled Inspired Leadership on Church Bible App. Click Here for more.)