Giving Thanks in Tough Times
Perhaps the most difficult thing to do in life is to thank God in difficult times. Ephesians 5:20 says we are to be "giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Here are seven things that trouble may do to you and for you.
Trouble may bring a correcting ministry.
Hebrews 12:6 says, "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." And Hebrews 12:11 tells us, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
Trouble may bring a deepening dependency.
Troubles bring us to Jesus so that we might depend more upon Him. The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh and he said, "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). If your trouble causes you to depend more upon God, can't you realize why we are to thank Him for it?
Trouble may bring a confirming testimony.
Paul knew much sorrow and he said, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). If you didn't have tribulation, you wouldn't need comfort and God so graciously gives that comfort.
Trouble may bring an increasing maturity.
God's Son was without sin, but not without suffering. James 1:4 says, "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." The word "perfect" does not mean sinless, it means mature. The word "patience" means endurance. You're not going to be mature until you learn patience. And the only way that you can learn patience is to have something to endure. You don't sharpen an axe on a pound of butter.
Trouble may bring excelling glory.
1 Peter 4:12-14 says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified."
How would you like the Spirit of glory and of God to rest on you? How would you like to undergo a fiery trial? But, you see, it is the fiery trial that brings the Spirit of glory upon you. Acts 6:5 describes Stephen as "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." While he was being stoned, the Bible says that his face shone like the face of an angel (see Acts 6:15). If your trouble causes you to know God's glory, shouldn't we thank Him for it?
Trouble may bring baffling mystery.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." God will give you enough to know to obey Him. Friend, there are some things we may not understand and we don't have to understand them in order to thank God, because God is good.
Trouble will bring eternal victory.
Romans 8:18 says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Paul was not saying the glory offsets the sufferings. Instead, he was saying that there's no comparison. What a day that will be when He turns every tear to a pearl! And then we understand that He has not forsaken us.
Now since all of these things are true, then can we not give thanks in everything?