When It’s Hard to Give Thanks

Michael Beck

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20)

Things happen. Things we don’t like. Things that didn’t have to happen. Things that make our lives difficult. Things that hinder our plans. Things that sadden and madden us.

Learning how to count it all joy when such things happen is a work of God that runs completely counter to our grain. We love when things go according to our plan. We love when life throws us no curves, when we’re smoothly sailing along with no one and nothing is getting in our way.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all things were designed to cooperate with us, ensuring that our pleasure would be accomplished? Wouldn’t it be nice if whatever we had a mind and desire to see happen was always turned into a reality? But alas, this is not the case for any of us. Life is filled with frustration. Others have their own plans that clash with ours. We cannot control the world around us. Things happen that we don’t like.

Now God promises to work all things together for good in the lives of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. Does this mean He can work even the most grievous, frustrating events in our life together for good? Yes. In these especially He works to fulfill His good pleasure and purpose in His saints. In these events that are outside of our control, He would perfect His peace in us. He would train us to remain under His control when the fiercest emotions arise within us. He would bring forth the fruit of temperance in our life. He would transform us into patient, longsuffering and meek people. He would make us perfect and entire and wanting nothing.

Yes, you are right – it didn’t have to happen. But it did. The issue now goes beyond “Why?” The issue now is “How?” How does God want to use this for His glory and perfection in my life? How can I move past anger toward man and God? How can I put off childish immaturity and grow up into Christ in all things?

Praise God for the good things that happen. But in and for everything give thanks. For it is through the most trying events in our life that we have the best opportunity to become like our Lord.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.