Giving Thanks No Matter What

Having a Grateful Spirit at All Times

By Charles F. Stanley
  • March 13, 2016

The Lord desires that we have a grateful spirit no matter what our circumstances are. Even in the midst of pain or hardship, we can always thank Him for our salvation, His presence, and His work in our lives.

Here are a few reasons we should be grateful to God in everything:

  • Thanksgiving is essential for rejoicing in the midst of our suffering. There’s no way we can “rejoice always” without giving thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:16, 18). Although the pain may be so penetrating that we cannot feel joy at the moment, we can choose to express gratitude with our mouths until it becomes a reality in our hearts. God hears and understands the depth of our agony just as He understood Jesus’ pain when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).

  • Gratitude to God in difficult times gives our witness a greater impact. Our painful experiences and grateful response allow us to help those who are hurting in their own lives. By sharing our struggles with others who don’t understand what God is doing, our witness for Christ becomes more powerful.

  • Thankfulness displaces anxiety with peace. The Greek word for peace means to bind together. When we keep thanking the Lord in the midst of sorrow, loss, and heartache, we are bound to Him, and His peace fills us as our anxieties dissolve. The pain and difficulty may remain, but we’ve changed inside. This kind of peace is only available to those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Although anxiety may suddenly come upon us, we don’t have to stay in that state. If we keep praying and giving thanks to God, His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).

  • Thanksgiving focuses our attention on God rather than our circumstances. If we fix our eyes on the difficulty, the pain becomes unbearable, peace eludes us, and the situation seems hopeless. But thanksgiving shifts our focus to the Lord and reminds us of what we can know for certain:

    1. We’re not alone.

    2. God is with us.

    3. He loves us.

    4. We’re eternally secure.

    5. He walks with us.

    6. He will bring us through.

    7. He will turn this experience into something profitable in our lives.

  • Gratitude energizes us physically, emotionally, and spiritually in difficult times. Pain, trouble, and disappointment are draining, but trusting God, focusing on Him, and thanking Him revitalize us. It’s His presence within that renews us in every way so we can keep going.

We are told to thank the Lord “for all things” (Eph. 5:20). We can thank Him for whatever He allows in our lives that is according to His sovereign will, knowing that He promises to work everything for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). We won’t always see the good immediately or even during our lifetime, but in heaven, it will all make sense. Until then, gratitude demonstrates our trust in the Lord and our willingness to surrender our lives to Him.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Thanksgiving in the Midst of Adversity,” which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Growth of a Believer  |  Anxiety  |  Peace

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46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"

16 Rejoice always;

18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

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