This week I am preaching on the practice of thanking God during hard times.
I don’t know about you, but for me a season of suffering or stress can lead to an anxious heart. I can become overwhelmed when life isn’t going my way and I can give in to feelings of hopelessness, bitterness, and apathy. This is the path many walk during hard times, but this week I am learning that it doesn’t have to be my experience.
In the midst of suffering and stress I can bless the Lord, offer thanksgiving, and rejoice. Choosing this path leads me to a peace that passes understanding, because thanksgiving reminds my soul that the Lord is good.
Thanksgiving in the midst of suffering is counter-intuitive. After all, we tend to praise God for the good seasons, for a spouse who loves, for healthy kids, for the home we always dreamed of, for a fulfilling career. And yet God invites us to give thanks, rejoice, and praise him at all times.
This means we can thank God during seasons of sorrow not because suffering is good, but because during these times we come to know God on new levels, and we see him work in ways we have only heard about.
It should be said that thanksgiving during seasons of suffering is a discipline. It won’t come naturally and it won’t be easy. But genuine thankfulness can come as we open our eyes to see and as we open our lips to declare God’s goodness even in our seasons of suffering.
Do you believe that? To the degree that you do, you will have peace and even joy in the darkest of times.