1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:
Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
We easily thank God for the good things, especially when life is going great. But what if we did something different?
What if we thanked God for the bad, too?
Before you think, “That’s easy for her to say,” I’ve had my share of hardship like everyone else. I’ve often felt like I own the mother lode of troubles. Sometimes, disasters pile up one after another faster than a winter snowstorm! I can relate to Paul when he said:
We have endured many things: suffering, distress, anxiety, beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and lack of food.
2 Corinthians 6:4b-5
I could add much more to his list.
Take a look at 1 Thessalonians 5:18 again. What does it say? “Whatever happens…” It doesn’t matter how bad your day is. It doesn’t matter if you think your whole life is terrible. It doesn’t matter if you feel cheated, abandoned, or like the entire world is against you. You are commanded to give thanks.
Why is this so important? Because giving thanks releases the power of God to work in your life. You’re acknowledging God’s sovereignty. You’re accepting he planned and allowed your current, past, and future circumstances. You’re admitting that he knows all, sees all, and controls all.
I admit, thanking God as I go through life’s challenges is hard to do. Disasters slam into me like explosions, leaving me reeling in their wake. But when I remember to thank him while in the midst of these, his peace and clarity fill me. I remember I can trust him. The circumstances don’t immediately change. But now I’ve released the control and outcome to him.
Those tough times are now a beautiful part of me. I’ve grown in ways that couldn’t have happened otherwise. Instead of sparing me from them, he walked with me through them.
I thank God for loving me enough not to take away those hardships.
Tough times happen, and often you’ll have little control over them. You’ll feel blindsided by them. Some will be life-shattering; some will just be a minor inconvenience. At the time, it’ll be hard to see the purpose of it and even harder to thank God for it.
This is the challenge. Whatever happens, in all your circumstances, in everything, choose to thank God. Watch him calm your heart and open your eyes to all that is good, pleasant, and wonderful. Watch as God unfolds his plan for you at this time. Watch as he shows you what to do, what to say, and where to go. No matter what, thank God.
Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
God’s Word Mission Society welcomes Wendy Miller Bartsch, a GOD’S WORD Ambassador. As a young adult, Wendy moved to Northern Canada as a missionary. During those years, numerous moves and life challenges deepened her faith and trust in God. Being creative at heart and wanting a way to express what God was teaching her, she started writing devotionals for family and friends and posting them on Facebook. With much encouragement, her first book Selah was published in August 2022.