Hard To Give Thanks
It is now November and we have entered into the season where we celebrate Thanksgiving and the many reasons we have to be grateful. However, if you have lived long enough, you have come to find out that sometimes it’s hard to give thanks.
Your teenagers are in rebellion against anything you say. You receive notice that your company is going through a series of layoffs and your name is on the list. Unexpectedly, God decided to call someone you loved dearly home. Or maybe your spouse tells you that they are no longer in love with you and want a divorce. In all that can go wrong in your life, how can you learn to be grateful? Even in the daily mundane routines we have, it is easy to lose sight of all that we are to be thankful for.
When it’s hard to give thanks, what should we do?
1. Look for the Lesson
When the Israelite people were on their journey through the wilderness, there were many lessons to learn from. The whole reason it took 40 years to make an 11-day trip is that the people refused to learn the lesson that God was teaching them throughout the process.
The main lesson that comes to my mind is one that God is a provider.
The Israelites were on the run from Pharoah and his army and found themselves trapped between them and the sea. Instead of trusting that God would provide a way, they immediately complained and wished they had remained in captivity in Egypt.
God ended up opening the sea so that they could escape on dry ground to get to the other side of the ocean. The Lord proved that He could do the impossible to make sure His people were safe and protected.
Test after test came to the Israelites and each time, instead of remembering what God did in the past, they became fearful and frustrated. The people failed to learn the lesson that God will provide for them in any situation. Their journey out of the wilderness was predicated on the lessons they learned.
2. Persevere Past Your Current Situation
When I think of a person that persevered past every trial that they faced, I instantly think of Joseph.
Here is a man who loved God and did what was right. In spite of his best efforts to please God, he was only met with problems that he did not cause.
How could one give thanks when they have been rejected, sold into slavery, lied on, and forgotten about? Well, Joseph found a way to give thanks by persevering past his situations.
As a slave, he worked diligently by doing his best work for Potiphar, an officer for Pharoah. His light shined so bright that Potiphar noticed and he put Joseph in charge of everything he owned.
Even when Potiphar’s wife lied on Joseph and placed him in prison, his light never went out. The prison warden placed him in charge over all the other inmates. He gave thanks in this situation by using his spiritual gifts to help other prisoners.
3. Place Your Hope in God
Sometimes situations can get so bad in our life that things just seem hopeless. The most hopeless situation I can imagine would be the life of Job. Within a matter of hours, he lost his children, wealth, health, and his marriage took a nosedive.
If anyone had the right to say it was hard to give thanks in their situation, I think Job earned that right. Regardless of what happened in his life, Job placed his hope in God.
Even when he did not understand it, his hope was in God. When his body ached, his hope was in God. After his friends talked about him and his wife cursed him, he still placed his hope in God.
To have that type of confidence and trust in God, I would think that Job had to have walked through some other difficult situations where he saw God come through on his behalf. When you journey through life with God and allow Him to guide your life, trust has to be built.
That is why God was so sure that no matter what the devil threw at Job, he wasn’t going to turn his back on God. God knew He had a solid relationship with Job that could not be broken even in the midst of the most horrific tragedies.
I don’t know what you are having to face now in this season or what you will face in another, but we all can learn to be grateful even when it’s hard to give thanks.
Take into account the three stories mentioned in this blog. They all cover trials that can relate to things we face in today’s time. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but with God, all things are possible. Look for the lesson, persevere past your current situation and place your hope in God. So in all things that may come your way, give thanks.
In Relentless Pursuit,
How do you encourage yourself in the midst of a trial to give thanks to God? Share your comment below.
“We are glad for our troubles also. We know that troubles help us learn not to give up. When we have learned not to give up, it shows we have stood the test. When we have stood the test, it gives us hope. Hope never makes us ashamed because the love of God has come into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5 NLV