1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Most people who have a relationship with JESUS CHRIST would agree it is easy to thank GOD for the good things we receive in life. For example, we would be thankful for certain achievements such as a graduation, a promotion on the job, a new car, a new home, a marriage, and the birth of a baby. When good things happen to us, being thankful comes about so effortlessly it can sometimes be perceived by others as a mere gesture or cliche. But how do we respond when bad things happen? Are we as likely to be thankful to GOD when we flunk out of school, lose a job, lose a car, lose a home, get divorced, or when a child dies?
Being thankful during the low moments in our lives is one of the greatest challenges we will ever face. Unfortunately we all will experience tragedy in our lives. Accepting JESUS as our LORD & Savior does not make us immune to bad things happening in our lives. In life it is certain we all shall face some of life's most painful truths. JESUS himself confirmed this when HES said . . .
John 16:33 (NIV)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
So then how do we thank GOD in the midst of tragedy and heartache when the last thing we want to do is thank HIM? I know from my own personal experiences it is incredibly difficult to thank GOD when you feel your world is falling apart. What has helped me be thankful in those moments is to think about what I still have and not focus on what I have lost.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Trusting GOD through our most difficult moments could be the hardest part of our walk with the LORD. How does a child thank GOD while being molested? How does a person thank GOD after being raped? How does a healthy person thank GOD after suddenly being diagnosed with a terminal illness? If GOD is love then why would HE allow such things to happen? I do not know why GOD allows such things to happen. It certainly does not make logical sense to me. However I do know the very nature of GOD goes far beyond our human logical thinking.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Although I may ask GOD why a certain thing has happened, I realize GOD does not owe me any explanation. However in my own life GOD has revealed things later on that changed my perspective on how I viewed those events. The late Bishop David Ellis once said, "Never count any day as a 'bad day' until all the days have been counted in. Because what you thought of as a 'bad day' might later prove to be a 'good day' in your life." For example, I have a friend who had a supervisor position at Chrysler Automotive Company. While working for Chrysler he was making a lot of money and doing very well for himself. But things began happening to him on the job which made him very unhappy and discouraged. Ultimately he made the decision to leave his well paying job in order to enter law school. Although it was a very hard process, several years later he graduated from law school and began working as a licensed attorney. One day he was watching television when the announcement was made that Chrysler was filing for bankruptcy. Had he not left several years prior, he would have been directly effected by those circumstances.
Many people know the story of Joyce Meyer. She was molested and raped by her own father from childhood until she left home in her later teenage years. She speaks openly about how this tormented her life many years afterwards. Today Joyce Meyer Ministries is known throughout the world as she travels regularly speaking before thousands (and millions through her television & radio ministry) spreading the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Joyce once said, "Give GOD your pain and let HIM turn it into your gain. Give HIM your mess and let HIM turn it into your message." In explaining why she shares her testimony about what happened to her, Joyce said, "I want people to know how good GOD is. Your struggle is worth it. Your journey is worth it. Don't give up!"
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Often times GOD moves in such a way that does not allow us to clearly see what lies ahead for us. Since we know that GOD uses all things to work together for our good, perhaps thanking GOD in the midst of our trouble is also an act of faith. We don't thank GOD for the bad thing that happened, but instead we thank GOD for using that bad thing to make our lives better. We thank GOD for using that tragedy to better the lives of others. Someone can be encouraged by your life when they see how you made it through your most difficult moments.
I do not have all the answer this is for sure. Although I understand 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it most certainly is easier said than done. However I can tell you I have tried it. In my life I have thanked GOD during incredibly hard times and the LORD brought me through it. Therefore I am asking you to find a way to thank GOD during the hard moments of your life. I know it is a hard thing to do. But think of it this way . . . what have you got to lose by giving this a try?
I pray these words have been a blessing for you as they are for me (bringing us in closer relationship with our FATHER). Please feel welcome to reply and share your thoughts by posting them here or privately at email@example.com.
If this message has touched your heart and you do not know JESUS CHRIST as your Lord & Savior but want HIM in your life you can accept HIM right now wherever you are. Pray this prayer out loud, "Dear GOD, I ask forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that JESUS CHRIST is your son. I believe that JESUS suffered and died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected for me. I accept JESUS as my Lord & Savior. Come now and live in my heart. I accept you as head of my life. In the name of JESUS I thank you, Amen."
If you have just prayed this prayer I say to you "GOD bless you and Congratulations"! If you do not have a church home, pray and ask GOD to lead you to a local (Bible believing) church in your area where you can be baptized in the name of JESUS, fed the Word of GOD, and fellowship with other Christians.
If you have any questions please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOD bless you!