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Thankful in all things?

November 11, 2010

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” But for Christians, both desperate and delightful times call for thanksgiving. Monday and Tuesday we saw examples from Hannah’s and Job’s lives and yesterday Kristi shared from a difficult season of her own. Today I want to sum it all up and give us a bit of a “how to.”

If you are anything like me, you may find it relatively easy to thank God when your life is filled with good things and easy circumstances. But according to God’s Word, Christians should be thankful in all circumstances. Not just when we are healthy, all the bills are paid, and there are no rebellious children under our roofs, but all the time, in every circumstance – good and bad.

Humanly speaking, this does not make sense. When things are tough, we humans naturally moan and complain, not offer words of gratitude. But God’s ways are often contrary to our faulty human logic. So, I turned to Scripture to find His answers to the following questions:

  • What does God want me to do in difficult circumstances?
  • Why should I give thanks in difficult circumstances?
  • How can I be thankful in difficult circumstances?

What does God want me to do in difficult circumstances?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18.

Joy in the midst of difficult circumstances is unique to the Christian life. So is thanksgiving in all circumstances. Yet, God calls His children to this very thing. In fact, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it is His will for us. Joy and thanksgiving in trial are possible because Christ is also unique to the Christian life. Jesus is present even in the hard times.

Why should I give thanks in difficult circumstances?

When we suffer trials and difficulties our faith is tested. This testing strengthens our endurance and refines and purifies our faith, moving us toward spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4). Faith that has been refined and proven genuine then brings praise, glory, and honor to Jesus (1 Peter 1:6-7).

We can also trust that God is using every circumstance He allows into our lives for our good. When we love Him and are living for Him, He uses every aggravation, frustration, grief, and pain to work out His greater plan for our lives. He weaves each tear we cry into the intricate pattern of His perfect will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

How can I be thankful in difficult circumstances?

The quick answer is “rest” and “pray.” Rest in God’s sure presence and continually lift up your concerns to God in prayer. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and rejoice in God’s promise! Although the mountains break apart and fall into the sea, God promises to be our strength and our “ever-present help.” Hallelujah! No matter what tragedy may come your way, you can take refuge in the safe arms of God.

While you’re running into God’s arms start praying and don’t stop. Give Him every worry, every doubt, every fear. Thank Him for how He will use your circumstances to ultimately bring Him glory and ask Him for the strength to endure. Then His peace – which transcends all human logic and understanding – will flood your heart and mind (Phil 4:6-7). Amen and amen.

Do you have a testimony to share with us? A time that God held you through a difficult circumstance and you were able to offer Him thanksgiving in the midst of it?

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