I’m going to be honest with you. It’s easier for me to grumble, whine, and complain about my troubles than it is for me to give thanks for them. Maybe it’s because I was the baby of the family. According to my older siblings, I could stick out my bottom lip and get anything I wanted. If that’s true, then perhaps complaining is a learned behavior. I’d like to think so because then I can unlearn the bad behavior. What’s more, I can learn to be thankful for all things good and bad alike.
I don’t want to be the type of Christian who chooses to obey what they like and disregard the rest. You know the kind. Furthermore, God doesn’t want me to live that way either. So why is it so hard to be thankful in all things as God commands? Because it stinks when bad things happen making it really difficult for me to be thankful. But instead of failing, I want to make God look good. I seem to have the same problem that Paul had. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.
Then it dawned on me. Perhaps I’m looking at things from the wrong perspective. Surely, God–who is good and wants me to succeed–has provided a way!
Of course he has!
If 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Then Romans 8: 28 gives us the support we need in order to give thanks. It says this. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love the Lord.”
If God is causing all things in your life and mine to work together for good, then we can thank Him for whatever we are encountering, even when overwhelming heartache seems to crush us to the core. God is in charge. God is in control. Believing this truth brings a sense of peace and stability to my life.
Two days before my surgery, my husband and I sat in silence at the dinner table. At first, we shuffled our food around on our plates pretending to eat. Then staring into each other’s tear filled eyes, Pat reached for my hand and said, “Whatever the outcome, it’s going to be alright.”
I knew he was right. I learned that lesson many years ago when I became a widow at the age of twenty-one. I had learned to say, “God, I don’t understand what’s happening. I don’t like it either, but I’m going to trust you.” Peace was always the result.
This time I’m learning that trouble, trials, and sickness are not set-backs. They are new opportunities for us to grow in faith and trust. It brings new hope, courage, strength, power, and a new testimony of the good God brings out of the bad. These times we call bad are when our relationship with God deepens. In addition, with each new opportunity I’m reminded of God’s ever present Presence in my life. I’m aware of His unending faithfulness and of His loving care and provision. When I think on these things, I can give thanks. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.