In God’s creation, everyone is born into different circumstances. Some have loving parents, others don’t. Some are born into wealth, some into poverty. Health accompanies many, disease many others. Some are native to one country, some to another; some to one religion, others to another or none at all. This is obvious.

But what is very frequently overlooked is what that implies: it was not God’s gift in Christ to address or somehow ‘rectify’ circumstances, to level them out or erase their variety or purge them of their seeming unfairness. God’s gift to creation in Christ was the possibility, not of transforming our circumstances to accommodate us, but of transforming ourselves to bring God into those circumstances.

Our responsibility as Christians is not to pine after different circumstances; it is to offer ourselves to God as means of bringing God’s love into those in which we find ourselves. God may call us and enable us change our situation, but we must avoid both pride if that happens and guilt if it does not. Our circumstances do not affect God’s assessment of how we’re doing. The only thing God measures is our response to them. That’s why Paul tells the Thessalonians to be grateful in all things, for they are the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.

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