...in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18
Does "in everything" mean literally everything? According to my research it does indeed mean everything. You might be thinking I just don't understand your life or your circumstances or I would not be telling you to be giving thanks.
You may be facing the loss of your home right now, or maybe someone you love is very sick and will die. Your financial situation might be desperate today and you have no idea where your next meal will come from or how you will pay to keep the heat and lights on.
I am certainly not foolish enough to suggest that you have no problems because I see the signs of hurting people all around me every day. I have my own trials and troubles that I pray will go away! Despite my problems I am reminded that God's Word tells me to be thankful for all that I have and all that I am.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
As I pray for relief to come from God I also thank Him for the trials. My trials drive me to Him and cause me to want to be close to Him in prayer. I am thankful that the problems in life are intended to conform me to the image and likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29) which is what every Christian should aspire to. The stuff of life also confirms that I am indeed a Christian! These are things to be thankful for.
I also am thankful that I have a great, wonderful, and powerful God who has the answers to all my dilemmas. He is a sovereign God who is in control of the circumstances of the world and for that very reason I have no reason to be anxious. The One who created it all is in charge of it all.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
More than any other thing, we can be thankful for Jesus Christ and the salvation that we have in Him. The faith that you and I share is such a gift! There is no religion in all of mankind that boasts of what we have been given through our union with Him. All other religions demand something of the follower by way of performance or sacrifice while our relationship with God was given to us before any of us were even born! Can you even imagine such a thing? Scripture says He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) that we would belong to Him...while we were yet sinners (Rom.5:8) God had it in mind to redeem us and make us His own people.
This never fails to amaze me because I know there is nothing I could ever do to be worthy of what I have been given in Christ. So when all else in my life is tanking I return to this very fundamental place: I am loved by God. In light of this truth and reality I can be nothing but thankful.