November 24, 2021

Thanking God in All Circumstances


1 Thessalonians 5:18— “. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


In 1822, Sarah Hale was a young widow, mother of five children, and editor of a women’s magazine. During this time, she began a 40-year campaign for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. Three presidents rejected her bid. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday. Later, in 1941, the fourth Thursday in November became the holiday.

Despite being emotionally drained and depressed at that time from the raging Civil War, Lincoln chose to lead our nation by thanking God. 

David Schlafer writes this about Lincoln: “Many of the members of his own cabinet openly despised him and joked about him in public. His wife had been investigated as a possible traitor, a process which Lincoln personally found to be bitterly wounding. In the face of such personal and national circumstances, Lincoln’s call for a day of prayer would have made sense. But Thanksgiving? At a time like that? What must he have been thinking of?”1

Thanking God for hardships is a means by which we can turn hardship, trial, and tribulation into joy and growth.


  • Reflect upon a time in which you were really down.
  • Is it possible that you are down right now? 
  • How did (or might) giving thanks to God help you in this situation?
  • How did (or might) giving thanks to God help you in your future situations?


  • Discuss what Sarah Hale might have experienced giving thanks with all of the responsibilities she had.
  • Discuss what Abraham Lincoln might have been thinking when he designated Thanksgiving a national day dedicated to giving thanks and celebrating rather than a national day of prayer.
  • Discuss how your family might take time to thank God for your struggles and responsibilities.


Dear loving, gracious God, thank you for all the blessings you give to me. Lord, I always need your help in thanking you for your love and grace that assists me during trials and tribulations. In your gracious name, I ask. Amen!

David J. Schlafer, What Makes This Day Different? (Boston, MA: Cowley Publications, 1998), 123.