10 Reasons Christians Can Be Thankful in Trying Circumstances
Often, the most basic of God’s commands are the hardest for us to obey. We may ask ourselves whether or not we would have the faith to offer up a child to God—as Abraham did when he was called to offer up Isaac—while never really stopping to ask ourselves whether or not we have the faith to obey the most basic new covenant commands.
Take, for instance, Paul’s statement in 1 Thess. 5:18:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you all.
When we consider such a command, we must ask ourselves the following questions: Am I thankful in all circumstances? What about when times are difficult? What about when I have experienced some particular trial? The Lord commands us to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials.” How can I be thankful and joyful in the midst of a painful trial? The answer, of course, is found in all that the Scriptures teach us about trials. Here are ten reasons Christians can be thankful in trying circumstances:
1. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we deserve eternal judgment and whatever we are experiencing short of that is a mercy.
2. We can be thankful in trying circumstances precisely because we have already been redeemed by Christ, blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, and sealed with the Spirit until the possession of the eternal inheritance.
3. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we know that our God doesn’t make mistakes. There is nothing that falls outside of his sovereign eternal decree. As the hymn writer put it, “What e’re my God ordains is right.”
4. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because all that God is doing in our lives is for his glory and our conformity to the image of his Son.
5. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we can be confident that God will not waste any of the lessons that he is seeking to teach us in the difficult, as well as enjoyable, circumstances in which he places us in life.
6. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we know that we will be able to extend to others who experience similar difficult circumstances the same comfort that we receive from the God of all comfort.
7. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we know that God’s purpose is to make us whole and complete, lacking nothing.
8. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because it is better for us to be in a place of weakness that shows us our need for God, than to be in a place of plenty and prosperity and forget about him.
9. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we are being pruned to bear more fruit. The Lord is removing the dross and refining the gold.
10. We can be thankful in trying circumstances because they serve as a stage on which the deliverance and provision of God’s grace in Christ may be displayed in our lives. The Lord brought Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace in order to teach them that he would stand with them in the furnace and bring them out unharmed. Jesus brought the disciples into the storm to teach them about his power to still the wind and the waves with a word.
So if you find yourself in a place where you are having a hard time being thankful, meditate on these ten biblical truths that will strengthen you in faith to give God glory and to give thanks in all circumstances—including trying ones—no matter how difficult they may be.
Rev. Nick Batzig is an associate editor for Ligonier Ministries and a pastor at Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA). He formerly served as the organizing pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia.
The Crook in the Lot by Thomas Boston
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