There it is--though--spelled out for all to see--as written by Paul to the Thessalonians.
SURELY He was NOT speaking of the evil in our world---child rape, murder, sex trade, brutality, genocide, theft, abuse, and on and on--the evil inflicted on others with no regard for the victims. SURELY God did not intend for us to be thankful for that!
Surely He was not speaking of hurricanes taking untold lives and property, tsunamis wiping away tens of thousands, earth quakes leveling entire cities, floods destroying entire regions, and other disasters caused by the forces of nature. SURELY God did not intend for us to be thankful for that!
Surely He was not speaking of the loss of our precious loved ones, chronic painful illnesses, birth defects, or any of the other maladies of life. The loss of a limb or multiple limbs, the loss of sight, speech, or our hearing--are we to be thankful for that? SURELY God did not intend for us to be thankful in ALL circumstance!
YES--YES--He did---and I will NOT tell you it is easy---I will tell you it is a life long lesson in discipline to thank Him in all circumstance. This can be a trial by fire as we grow into the perfection of the saints by acknowledging His sovereignty. And those that watch us--are either attracted or repelled by our response as we experience trials and hardships. We are the lighthouse that either attracts or repels others to The Light. " As children of the God who has blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, by our thankfulness in every situation we should reflect His goodness and love to a world that does not know Him. " Stephen J. Cole
In our thankfulness, we acknowledge His intent that all things will be used for good for those that are called according to His purpose. What man intends for evil--God can use for good. Though God hates the sin, He can use the sinner for His eternal purposes. In our thankfulness, we admit our short sight and His eternal vision. In our thankfulness, we submit to Him and His plans. We give thanks in recognition to who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for man. In our thankfulness we point to the only hope here on this earth and proclaim our belief in His promises.
NO--He was not kidding---and it clearly is not most things---but in ALL things we are to be thankful.
We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.