It is the season of Thanksgiving…a season that should never stop in our hearts, but is especially celebrated right now! While we work our way towards Thanksgiving, I want to write on being thankful…especially when you are suffering in life.
Suffering is universal. No one escapes it. We suffer differently, but we all have suffered, are suffering or will suffer. Suffering is hard. Real hard. It can get real ugly. Especially if it doesn’t go away. When I get ill, I don’t like it but I am okay with it for a little while. I will take meds to get me through the worst symptoms knowing that in a week or so, I will be back to my old self. But what about when suffering isn’t going to go away?
How do you “get over” a loved one dying? How do you “get over” your spouses continued unfaithfulness? How do you “get over” your own painful consequences to sin in your life? How do you “get over” a chronic health condition that constantly changes? You don’t get over these kind of things. They are now a part of your daily life.
As we are in this season of thankfulness, I am often reminded in my suffering of this verse: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This is SO hard!!! I don’t FEEL thankful for suffering. I don’t want it. I want to be rid of it. When I think of my suffering being so very daily and never going away, it can consume you and destroy you. But…God didn’t ask me to feel thankful. He told me to BE thankful. Not only did He tell me to be thankful, He told me to be thankful in EVERY thing. What?!!! Then God takes it even farther. He tells us that this thankfulness in every thing is the very will of God for my life.
God’s will…for me today…is to be thankful in every. single. thing. Tomorrow, I do it all again. THIS has me in God’s will.
So how do we do it? How in the world can we choose to be thankful?
- It IS a choice. Do NOT wait on your emotions to “feel” thankful. Over time, in some cases, you do feel thankfulness. But many times, I cannot say “I am thankful for….” but I can say “Thank you Lord for this in my life because I know You are allowing it for my good.” The longer I live and grow in my walk with the Lord, the more I realize how very much He pulls us away from emotion and to intentional choice.
- It CAN BE a habit. Over time, this will become a good discipline in your life. If you will just obey this verse, when you suffer, you not only start listing the blessings in your life, but you already say thank you to God for allowing this in your life.
- It WILL BE rewarding. The point is not so we will eventually like suffering. That will never happen! The point is so that we will learn to obediently live in a thankful heart to God for every single thing in our life because He has already ordained it to be so…for His purposes and glory through our lives.
I will have two guests in the next week who are going to share their stories and God’s goodness:
- Amy Foster – a precious wife and momma that was in a car accident that left her with a serious spinal cord injury.
- Holly Payne – a sweet friend who has a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy that doctors said should have killed her before the age of 3.
Both of these godly women have chosen to be thankful in their lives and I think it will be a blessing to you all, as it has been to me, to read their stories. I can’t wait for you all to meet them. So stay tuned!