The Gospels teach us that faith has infinite power. Even the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains and bring the dead back to life. In hard times we see the brokenness of the world. Our faith is often tested and it can become difficult to believe.
Lord, I ask that You strengthen my faith. Purge all doubt from my heart, and open my eyes of faith to find my way out of these dark times.
On Thanksgiving Day, Americans celebrate our most religious of secular holidays. For hundreds of years we’ve made a national tradition of giving thanks for the blessings of the preceding year. But for Christians, every day should be a day of thanksgiving, since the regular practice of gratitude is a means by which we become rightly oriented toward God.
Without a regular infusion of gratitude we can become self-involved, believing that we are responsible for all that we have in our lives. Only by developing the discipline of gratitude can we ensure that we are cognizant of God’s goodness and reliant on him for our daily existence.
Expressing our gratitude can be challenging even when we feel blessed. But what about when we are enduring times of pain, suffering, or difficulty? How can we be thankful when we’ve lost our job or when our child is enslaved to pornography? How can we be thankful when our neighbors are suffering from sexual abuse or dying from opioid addictions?
When our world seems to be falling apart, how can we be expected, as Paul tells us, to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)? Is the apostle saying we must be thankful for these troubles? As Jim Burns explains,
No. If you look closely you’ll see that Paul is not telling you to be thankful for these things; rather we are to be thankful in our circumstances. There is a major difference between being thankful for every situation in life and being thankful in those situations. He challenges us to find reasons to be thankful even in the worst of struggles.
All of us struggle in times of suffering and despair to express our gratitude for what God has done for us. But there are four reasons believers can be thankful in times of trouble: