Gratitude is sometimes a forgotten attribute in the life of a Christian. Oh, most of us offer up joyful praise and thanksgiving when He comes through with a major blessing!!!!!!! What I am talking about is an ongoing “attitude of gratitude”, which is a cornerstone in our relationship with God, as well as with others. This gratitude will invade every facet of our lives! We are to be thankful at all times for His presence, His provision, His mercy and for being called His Own.
(Psalm 118:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”
But what about when challenges come? It can be difficult to muster up genuine thanksgiving when those unexpected trials and testings arise. Our pastor has often told us that it is during these times that we are to REMEMBER – to look back on our lives and to see God’s faithfulness during our seasons of testing. I call this “the golden cord”. We look back at those dark times; yet in the middle of this darkness is the gleaming light of His care and mercy. Remember to remember!
(Deuteronomy 8:2: – “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years…….”)
And for me, this last example is the tough one! Something comes at us from out of left field that knocks us off balance ~ the loss of a job; the death of a loved one; the break-up of a marriage; a serious health diagnosis. These events are not mere challenges. They rock our world and we are suddenly off-kilter. After one of these life-changing events, we are never the same. I have several dear friends who have suffered catastrophic losses. I have stood in awe of them as they face their new, altered lives head-on, with clear eyes, and an unstoppable faith in Jesus. Here are the verses that were pointed out to me, in love, by my bible study leader at the time, during a time of deep crisis in my life:
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in all things give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
In ALL circumstances? !!?!? There is no parenthesis after the word “circumstances” which could say (except for the following situations!)
We are to thank Him even while reeling with shock in the midst of our suffering. Why? Because He will walk with us through it. Because His strength and His grace will sustain us. And because during this time, He will be conforming us to the image of His Son.
Admittedly, this will be REALLY tough. And YET I would hope that my desire to obey my Lord would outweigh my heartbreak. May this be so for all of us who seek to be Your disciples, Lord Jesus.