“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Can a person be truly thankful in times of suffering? Think back on your past year. Very often there’s a mix of uplifting highs and frustrating lows. But perhaps your 2018 was more lows than highs: losing a loved one, a career or financial setback, a serious health crisis, or a relationship falling apart. Get hit by one or more of these challenges and walking in gratitude is probably not high on your list of priorities – but maybe it can be.
Gratitude is a God-given command for followers of Jesus (1 Thess. 5:18), but this doesn’t mean being thankful for a particular tragedy, suffering, or difficulty. It’s about shifting our focus from our current suffering and focusing on God. It’s about remembering WHO God is and WHAT He’s capable of, no matter how circumstances may appear. It’s remembering that when Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, He promised eternal life which means victory over suffering, sin, and even death itself – for those who put their trust in Him.
In other words, all our pains, disappointments, and sufferings are temporary – but our hope through Jesus is eternal.
Are you walking through a season of grief and suffering? Are you struggling to get back up after being hit by one difficulty after another? Take your eyes off the problem and look to God. Ask God for HIS strength and guidance to persevere. Because for the Jesus follower, even when everything that could go wrong does, the hope of Jesus never waivers. Hope and trust in Jesus is the key to being thankful!