Bible - Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-16 

Give thanks in all circumstances. —1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) 

I have often heard it said that “God will never give us more than we can handle.” Yet, there are times in our lives when this is simply not true, and such statements ring hollow. 

Perhaps the biblical passages that are used to promote this idea have been misinterpreted. For example, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a verse commonly cited, but it is about temptation rather than suffering. 

Passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and James 1:2 tell us to rejoice always. But being told to rejoice when we have lost a loved one or are facing a life-altering health diagnosis can seem cruel. 

The command to rejoice in our suffering, however, is about rejoicing in Jesus despite our circumstances, not because of our circumstances. What a difference that understanding can make when trials come! It is much easier to rejoice in Jesus and what he has done for us than to rejoice in the difficulties we face. 

Understanding these passages better has helped me lift my gaze from very difficult circumstances to God, who is with us every step of the way, offering hope, joy, and encouragement in the midst of life’s most troublesome times. 

Today’s prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us in our suffering. Help us to rejoice in you despite our circumstances, not because of them. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen. 

Thought for the day: Is my gaze focused on God or my circumstances? 

Bronwyn Ashton Winch (Queensland, Australia)