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St Paul taught the early Christians to ‘give thanks in all circumstances for that this was the will of God for them’. The word ‘all’ makes us stop and ask could he really be serious? This sounds like a step too far. Or could he be pointing to a spiritual principle that enables us to always move forward and not get stuck in the more unpleasant things of life? As a child growing up on a farm that knew lots of hardship and setbacks I remember being shocked by my mothers response to yet another loss; ‘thanks be to God or blessed be the will of God.’ This just didn’t make sense; how could she be grateful when a horse or cow was found dead. With the wisdom of the years I can now see that by adopting such an attitude she was enabling herself to move on in life and not remain stuck in resentment that this had happened or in feeling sorry for herself. It is only in the acceptance of what is that we can move forward, otherwise we simply remain stuck in a victim mode.

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