Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

Lee Gwon-seob from Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea


One day, I felt like something was stuck in my neck. I had frequent acid reflux, too. I was confident of my health, saying that I could even eat a lump of metal and digest it, but something must have certainly gone wrong.

“You’ve got reflux esophagitis.”

The doctor told me the result of a medical examination. He explained that it is an illness where the digestive fluid from the stomach goes up the throat and causes inflammation in the esophagus due to stress or wrong eating habits. It is said that the food which goes down the throat should be mixed with the digestive fluid in the stomach and then go down to the duodenum, but for various reasons, the gastric acid can flow backwards.

Prescribing some medicine, the doctor taught me about the food that I should abstain from: carbonated drinks, fried food, noodles, and so on. They were my usual favorite foods. Knowing my thoughts, the doctor requested repeatedly that I should be particular about the food I eat, making it as a habit because I would have a relapse if I failed to take good care of myself even after my condition improved.

According to the doctor’s advice, I was careful about the food I ate. I said good-bye to coffee which I drank several cups of a day and instant noodles which I enjoyed whenever I felt hungry. I missed the old days when I was able to eat whatever I wanted. Suddenly, a Bible verse flashed into my mind.

“Give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Th 5:18

“In all circumstances” literally means “in everything.” This means that we should give thanks at every moment about everything.

I remember one documentary film I watched before: One day, a man woke up in the morning but he could not see. He was healthy enough not to catch the flu even once, but all of a sudden he became blind. How lost he must have felt! He was examined at the hospital and they found out that his optic nerve became disconnected. Without knowing the specific reason about why his optic nerve was disconnected, a healthy man became blind in a day. Seeing the pitiable situation, I repeated to myself that I should be grateful for the present situation given to me.

However, forgetting those memories, many times I did not give thanks to God though I was living day after day with an overabundance of things to be grateful for. How could I forget so easily that every ordinary moment that I can walk and see and talk should be a time of giving thanks? I feel ashamed and sorry.

Reflux esophagitis isn’t too bad. Getting this illness, I can give thanks for the past. Moreover, I am more thankful for letting me realize why I should give thanks in all circumstances through this small hardship though I could have been given a more difficult and painful hardship.

David meditated on the words of God day and night, and gave thanks to God for the things that he heard about what his ancestors went through as well as for the things that were happening to him. I pledge myself to be found as a man after God’s own heart just like David whom God called “a man after my own heart,” by practicing the words, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” every day from now on.