We thank God for an abundance of food to eat on Thanksgiving Day, nice coats and shoes, the warmth of our homes during the winter, and we especially thank Him for all the good things in our lives. It’s easy to thank God for what we consider our blessings. It’s easy to feel joy and happiness when all is right with our world. It’s easy to love the lovable, help those who help themselves, do good in return for good.
But God doesn’t ask us to do the easy things.
Luke 6:32-36 (HCSB) 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
It’s not easy to forgive. It’s not easy to turn the other cheek. It’s not easy to share the gospel. It’s not easy to read our bibles and to be consistent with study and prayer. It’s not easy to dig deep into our souls and confess what God calls sin. It’s not easy to give up some of our pleasures. It’s not easy to give up our habits. It’s not easy to repent.
Most of all for me, it’s not easy to thank Him for my trials. And to consider it great joy?
James 1:2 (HCSB) Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials,
It’s easy to understand why I’ve experienced trials and troubles that I have brought on myself because of disobedience to God’s ways. I really am grateful for God’s discipline. But in the process of learning to be obedient, I have also experienced heartache and hardships not of my own doing that I never saw coming. Those are hard to understand. But God promises me He works all things for my good because I love Him and am called for His purpose. He doesn’t promise me easy. This does not mean my problems are good. This does not mean that ignoring things means the troubles don’t exist. This doesn’t mean that my situation won’t change nor that it will ever change. In fact, I thought by now that God would have answered some of my prayers for some changes that I am just certain would glorify Him. Yet in His great sovereignty, He knows what is best. His ways and His thoughts are far beyond my comprehension. I must choose to trust Him. I must choose thanksgiving in ALL THINGS.
Thank you Lord, not only for your many blessings, but also the storms, the trials, the pain.
Romans 5:3–4 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,