Thankfulness in Suffering
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18
It is hard for us to imagine that Jesus was thankful as He walked the road to the cross. He suffered in every possible way, yet He willingly submitted to the will of God the Father. Jesus knew that His death would pave a way for us to have a restored relationship with God. He saw the larger picture.
Isn’t it hard to see the big picture, particularly in times of suffering? Seven years ago I endured a pregnancy-related disorder that resulted in some life-threatening complications. Many nights I lay in the hospital bed and cried out to God, begging for healing. I wanted a quick solution, but God brought healing a few months after my daughter was born. A couple of years later my marriage hit the rocks. My husband and I struggled to work things out. Once again I cried out to God, asking for a miracle. God answered my prayer, but it came slowly with much counseling and work.
These experiences taught me that God hears and answers prayers, but He does it when He knows the time is right. He taught me to say thank you, even for the days of suffering. I have learned to trust that God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself. I wanted a quick solution for my suffering, but God knew that enduring suffering would teach me more about Him and help me to love Him more.
When God tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” it is not a suggestion; it is a command. The next time you find yourself in a hard situation, tell God thank you and ask Him to use your suffering to make you more like Jesus.
Today’s Prayer: Father God, You tell us to give thanks in all circumstances because it is Your will for us. This is a hard command. I do not always feel thankful, especially when I am hurting. Help me, Father, to have a thankful heart no matter what my circumstances. Help me to remember there is a bigger picture, a bigger plan, and to trust that You are in control of that plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.