Giving Thanks FOR the Most Difficult Situations?!

Each year at Thanksgiving, people take time to reflect on all the things they have to be thankful for: family, health, country, friends, turkey and dressing, relationship with God, job, hobbies, God’s Word, football, pecan pie, and the list goes on and on. There is certainly much to be thankful for.

But God calls us to a much deeper level of thankfulness as followers of Jesus. He calls us to give thanks, to give thanks to the Lord, to give thanks at all times, to give thanks in all circumstances, and to give thanks FOR everything.

Wait — what?

It’s that last one that gets me — how can we be thankful FOR everything?!

What do you say to a person that was just diagnosed with cancer? Or to a family whose teenager was recently killed in a car accident? Or the dad who for no reason has lost his job right before the holidays? What do you say to people who are going through the most difficult life experiences imaginable, things they did not ask for but circumstances that are out of their control?

Does the Bible really say to give thanks FOR everything? Yes, it does. So, is God a callous or unaware or deviant God when He instructs us to give thanks FOR everything? No, certainly not. He is a good, good Father.

In the Scriptures, we are instructed to give thanks. Let’s unpack these five levels of thankfulness to see how God helps us to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances and for all things.

Give thanks. We teach our children and grandchildren to say, “thank you,” and we should do this ourselves. It is polite and it is good for the person giving thanks. It reminds us that we are to be grateful to others when they show kindness to us. We appreciate them and show gratitude. In Luke 17:16, the Samaritan healed by Jesus paused to say, “thank you.”

And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Give thanks to the Lord. It is one thing to thank the farmer for the food he produces and brings to the kitchen. It is a deeper level to thank God for the farmer and for all that God did to bring that food to the kitchen. When we think of the people who love us and all of the blessings of life, it is right that we would give thanks to the Lord for all of these things (Psalm 9:1). And most of all we give thanks to the Lord for Jesus, who died to pay the penalty for our sin and conquered death to give us eternal life (2 Corinthians 9:15). Thank you, Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)

Give thanks at all times. If you are a follower of Jesus, there is never a moment that you don’t have a reason to give thanks. Therefore, when you are tempted to be depressed or bitter or selfish or overwhelmed, choose another option: thankfulness.

By speaking the words, “Thank you, Lord” out loud and focusing your mind and heart on all that you have to be thankful for in Christ, your spirit will overcome the emotions of fear, dread or doubt that are trying to come against you. God’s peace will overwhelm you as you rest in Him with a thankful heart (Philippians 4:6-7).

Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

Give thanks in all circumstances. It may be difficult to give thanks when circumstances are not good, but it can be done, because the Lord is there with you. The apostle Paul was in a prison cell, chained to a guard for declaring that Jesus is Lord, not sure where his next meal would come from or whether he would make it out alive, yet he was thankful to God in the midst of those circumstances.

When the disciples were caught in the midst of a furious storm, they could have peace because Jesus was there WITH THEM (Mark 4:35-41). The presence of the Holy Spirit gives you peace and compels you to give thanks in all circumstances.

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Give thanks for everything. As I said at the beginning, I believe this is the most difficult one. It is humanly impossible to give thanks when life’s circumstances are horrible. But through Christ, we CAN give thanks FOR everything.

How can we give thanks FOR everything? Know who God is: He is a good, good Father (Matthew 7:11). He is sovereignly in control of all things (Isaiah 46:10). He is our strength (Philippians 4:13). And He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). He knows that trials of life, no matter how difficult they are, can make us stronger in our faith and bring us closer to Him (James 1:2-4).

He teaches us things about ourselves and about Him that could not be learned any other way. No matter how deep the pain, there is always a divine purpose. Trust in God and trust in the promises from His Word.

Furthermore, as God sustains you and grows you, the lessons learned and maturity gained from the difficult situation you are enduring can be ways for you to help others through their own difficulties in the future (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

Give thanks.

2 thoughts on “Giving Thanks FOR the Most Difficult Situations?!

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