I’m a homeschooling mom, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I HATE grammar. (Shhh! Don’t tell my kids! OK – some of them will read this, so I guess they’ll be in on my secret, but I hope they’ll avoid discouraging their younger siblings and keep my secret.) I don’t like to teach grammar. I don’t like to study grammar. I don’t like it when others make grammatical mistakes. I like it even less when I make grammatical errors. Especially when I notice them after my writing is published. (For the record, I know there are often grammatical errors in my writing.)
I do, however, like words. I like finding the right word for just what I want to say. And I need time to do that – which I don’t always have when I am writing this blog, so sometimes I get wordy. (Did I hear an “Amen!” to that? I know. I can be waaaaay too long sometimes. Sorry! I am working on it.)
I am inspired by things like the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln articulated a mountain of meaning in a mouthful of words. Exactly 272 words. Talk about choosing words carefully and picking just the right ones!
I think God was pretty careful with his words, too. Making sure to include exactly the right word to get his point across.
Recently I was reviewing 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 with my kids as a home school memory verse and it struck me that God says, “… be thankful in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Do you get that? “… be thankful IN all circumstances.” It does not say, “… be thankful FOR all circumstances.”
Ahhhh! The power of a preposition. That little preposition makes a big difference.
I can be thankful IN the midst of adjusting to the time change, even if I am not thankful FOR having to adjust to the time change.
I can be thankful IN the middle of the night with a sick child, even if I am not thankful FOR the lack of sleep.
I can be thankful IN a challenging phase of finances, even if I am not thankful FOR giving up desires.
I can be thankful IN the midst of a relationship-growth-opportunity (a.k.a. conflict) even if I am not thankful FOR the presenting problem.
I can be thankful IN a lonely time even if I am not thankful FOR the loss of a friend, or the distance between us, or the reasons I am alone.
And as I learn to be thankful IN all circumstances, without the pressure to be thankful FOR those circumstances, I begin to see how I can “Rejoice always.” Or maybe it’s more like, as I learn to “pray without ceasing” I begin to understand how I can “rejoice always… and be thankful in all circumstances.”