Giving Thanks When Things Aren't Going Right
“How on earth do I give thanks when I feel like life is so difficult and painful?” I muttered as I pondered everything going on in my life.
I was a tired mother of three children, a busy business owner with 250 clients, active in the church and community and my marriage was struggling.
I was exhausted, to say the least.
A day or two after I said the above question, my baby got pneumonia. This generated extra care for my little one, including frequent breathing treatments he despised and screamed through.
A few days into the pneumonia battle, my daughter spent the night at a friend’s house and came home with lice. There was even more work for me, as if taking care of a house and three children was not enough.
The next day, the school called and said my oldest son had pink eye.
“Surely, God understood that I had enough on my plate and did not have time to be thankful,” I said to myself as I tended to my tasks.
The truth is, God did understand, and he wanted to help me overcome the adversity I was facing.
Some days in our life on this Earth are just awful. He does not engineer difficult circumstances just so he can produce good; however, he works within us and through us to bring us to a better place when we partner with him.
“Help me Lord,” I prayed.
I knew God was the only one I could depend on.
The next morning, I opened my Bible and began reading II Corinthians 2:14, which reads, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
If you read the first part of the chapter, things were not easy for Paul; however, he had a confidence in God’s ability to overcome his challenges. I was encouraged, and several words stuck out to me as I read and reread this verse.
• Triumphal procession
I discovered I had to do my part — and that was to give thanks.
I began to thank God for his ability to lead me to triumph and for my kids. I began to thank God for his love for me.
My heart began to change. Thanksgiving adjusts our attitude.
Next, I began to look to God and believe that he would lead me. I began to thank him for my husband, too, even though I was not really happy with him at the time.
“God, I thank you for my husband and kids, thank you for your love, and thank you that you want to lead me and help me overcome,” I prayed. “I choose to believe you always work things together for my good, and I look to your ability, not my own.”
Please note, I did not thank God for the difficulties but for what I could be thankful for and put my trust in him.
In the days and months that followed Thanksgiving that year, the lice and the pink eye were gone from my house, even though these childhood plagues went through all three kids. My baby got over pneumonia.
I continued to give thanks for my husband, and God began to work in both of our lives. I began to look to God to change things in our marriage, instead of me trying to change him. Our marriage began to heal, and it started with my heart changing first.
Not long ago, I reread II Corinthians 2:14 and could see very clearly how God led me in triumphal procession, step by step. I had to smile at God’s faithfulness.
Yes, there are still difficult days in my life; however, I am quick to give thanks and look for how God is going to lead me step by step to get the better of the situation.
The great news is, when we partner with God, thank him and lean on him in difficult days, we are developing a testimony in our lives and a confidence in him. Others see that in our lives and are drawn to that fragrance.
Right now is a good time to thank God for something in your life and partner with him. If you are having difficulty, ask him to help you develop thankfulness in your life. We can always thank him for being with us, helping us, and we can ask him to open our eyes to see how we can be changed and triumph.