Give Thanks in All Circumstances

How does one give thanks when the circumstances are bad? What exactly is it that we're supposed to give thanks for?
by Lorraine E. Espenhain | Source: Catholic.net

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." [1 Th 5:18].

 

When everything is going well for us in life, it’s easy to put the above verse of Scripture into practice, isn’t it? Saint Paul’s instructions to the church, however, do not apply only to the good circumstances in our lives, but to all circumstances. This means the good ones as well as the bad.

 

How can we possibly be expected to give thanks to God for a trying, painful, and difficult storm we may presently be enduring? What is it that we’re supposed to be thankful for? The pain? The discouragement? The grief or heaviness of heart? No. When I find myself going through the fires of a painful and difficult trial, I don’t give thanks for the trial itself. Rather, I give thanks to God for that which He is teaching me, changing in me, and developing in me through that trial.

 

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must believe that nothing comes into our lives by chance. There is no such thing as a coincidence in the life of a believer. Even in the difficult times, we must understand that the Lord has allowed that situation into our lives for a holy reason. He uses both the good times and the bad times to teach us and to refine us in our faith. He uses them to correct us and to burn out certain ungodly characteristics in us. He uses them to mold us and to make us more like Christ. He uses them to make us more fruitful and to move us on to maturity in Him.

 

When we find ourselves enduring a difficult situation, we need to yield our lives to the Holy Spirit and not resist Him. If we insist on resisting whatever it is the Lord desires to teach us through that situation, then we have suffered for nothing. The pain was in vain. The worse thing any believer can do when going through a difficult circumstance is to cut himself off from spiritual things, for it is those spiritual things that will help him to endure the trial God’s way. Because of discouragement during dark and difficult times, many people quit going to Mass, reading the Bible, or spending time with God in prayer. Tragically, some don’t even do these things during the good times, let alone the bad times. But we need to do these things more than ever when going through the storms of life! How can I learn what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me, work out in me, or change in me, if I am not drawing close to Him each and every single day through prayer and the reading of God’s Word? 

 

If my family life is falling apart, my job is about to be eliminated, or I have more bills than I have money, will television impart spiritual strength to me? Will sports or computer games give me the mind of Christ and enable me to discern that which He is trying to teach me through my suffering? 

If we are going to overcome by the power of the Spirit, we must be willing to sow to the Spirit (through prayer and Bible reading) on a daily basis so that this will be achieved, for it is here where the believer gets his strength. Spending time in the Word takes my thoughts off of my situation and lines them up with Heaven. Reading the Word of God and thoughtfully meditating on it renews my mind. I am reminded of how God wants me to live and conduct myself even in the midst of my difficult circumstance. Prayer, on the other hand, gives me the strength to put into practice that which I have just studied. The two go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

 

When going through a dark and difficult time, the last thing our flesh wants to do is draw close to God through prayer, Bible reading, or Mass attendance. The flesh wants to escape the situation. The flesh wants to find distractions and diversions to keep us from having to deal with the situation. But the Spirit challenges us to engage it, face it, and most of all, be transformed by God through it!

 

Brothers and sisters, listen to me! Today’s understanding is yesterday’s heartache. Today’s wisdom, discernment, or spiritual fruit is yesterday’s sorrow. Today’s Christlike characteristic is yesterday’s fault. Today’s walk in the power of the resurrection was yesterday’s agonizing death on a cross. Do we really think that knowledge, spiritual fruitfulness, growth, and Christ-like character come to us simply by reading a book or saying a prayer? If only it could be that easy! Whether we want to accept this truth or not, when it comes to our walk of faith, most of what we will learn or become can only be taught through sorrow, suffering, and death on a cross. God’s pruning knife is sharp and painful, but what an awesome work is wrought in us when we yield to that knife and refuse to resist!

 

Are you facing difficult circumstances in your life right now? If so, give thanks, not for the circumstance, but for that which God is working out in you through that circumstance. If you desire to know what it is the Lord is trying to work out in you through that circumstance, you must be willing to draw near to Him in your daily life. This means eliminating every distraction from your life that may be keeping you from drawing closer to Christ through prayer and the Word.

 

Trials and difficult times come to all, whether they serve God or not. Since this is the case, we do not want those troubles to visit us in vain. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." [Jn 16:33]. The peace that Jesus desires us to have can only come to us as we faithfully abide in Him and draw close to Him in our daily lives. We cannot expect to tap into His peace and power if we are not willing to engage in the disciplines of daily prayer and Bible reading because we choose to pursue earthly activities instead. It just doesn’t work that way. Jesus didn’t say "in this world there is a very good possibility that you may have trouble." His words were emphatic: "In this world you will have trouble." But just as He has overcome the world, those of us who faithfully abide in Him will also overcome if we go through life and all of its circumstances His way, and not our way. Success is guaranteed when we do it God’s Way!

 

Are you going through a difficult time in your life right now? If so, keep drawing close to Christ through prayer and the Word.  Keep serving others in love. Keep going to Mass.  Keep living obediently to the Word, and keep acting just as Christ-like as you did before that difficult situation came into your life. Don’t let the devil break your spiritual stride! Yield to God, rather than resist, and watch what the power of Christ will do in and through you even in the midst of that painful situation! This is what it means to trust and to believe. This is what it means to walk by faith...

 

...and not by sight.



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Published by: Nikka
Date: 2010-11-18 09:24:49
I want to thank God for directing me in this site to be able to read such teachings.. I'm really learning a lot from here. Thank you.. Brenda I pray that you'll be healed with your breast cancer keep your faith in Him.

Published by: Audrey
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
I want to thank God and Jesus for always being there for me no matter what the circumstance is and also for the smooth rosary session i had last night, the best if not one of the best so far, where i did not tire out or lose focus as how i usually did. Thank You for hearing my prayers!! ^_^

Published by: Brenda Zolli
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
This message was very pertinent to my situation at present as I am going through a real trial. I was just diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer and am about to go through chemo and radiation. I am terribly afraid of what lies ahead but am trying to keep trusting God for the circumstances. I feel He is trying to teach me to walk more closely with Him and let all the things I am attached to, just go. I know I will grow more fully as a Christian if I acknowledge Him and accept this new burden. Praise His Name!

Published by: Audrey
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
I want to thank God and Jesus for always being there for me no matter what the circumstance is and also for the smooth rosary session i had last night, the best if not one of the best so far, where i did not tire out or lose focus as how i usually did. Thank You for hearing my prayers!! ^_^

Published by: Brenda Zolli
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
This message was very pertinent to my situation at present as I am going through a real trial. I was just diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer and am about to go through chemo and radiation. I am terribly afraid of what lies ahead but am trying to keep trusting God for the circumstances. I feel He is trying to teach me to walk more closely with Him and let all the things I am attached to, just go. I know I will grow more fully as a Christian if I acknowledge Him and accept this new burden. Praise His Name!

Published by: Audrey
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
I want to thank God and Jesus for always being there for me no matter what the circumstance is and also for the smooth rosary session i had last night, the best if not one of the best so far, where i did not tire out or lose focus as how i usually did. Thank You for hearing my prayers!! ^_^

Published by: Brenda Zolli
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
This message was very pertinent to my situation at present as I am going through a real trial. I was just diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer and am about to go through chemo and radiation. I am terribly afraid of what lies ahead but am trying to keep trusting God for the circumstances. I feel He is trying to teach me to walk more closely with Him and let all the things I am attached to, just go. I know I will grow more fully as a Christian if I acknowledge Him and accept this new burden. Praise His Name!

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