How does being thankful help me? No one can escape hardships, it is part of living in an imperfect world. We can’t choose our hardships either, but we can choose how we respond. Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning. The following is a quote, “Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl’s soul.” Though your hardship may not compare to torture in a concentration camp, hardships cause you to focus on your loss, which causes stress on your mind and body. I must admit, it is hard to be thankful if you are in an abusive relationship. I will write more concerning this in the next post. Please understand, Satan wants you to stay focused on your hardship and bring destruction in your life (see John 10:10). To learn more, read: Four Realities of the Spirit World
No matter the hardship, we can be thankful for something. Being thankful is an inner-life attitude that determines if we rise above our problems or sink deeper into despair. You see, it is God’s will for you to be thankful in all circumstances (see 1Thes. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20). If you find it hard to be thankful, call out to God for help (see Hebrews 4:14-16). If you want to experience peace amid your hardship, then do what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6,7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I focus on my negative thoughts, I became anxious and stressed again. The Bible says God gives us hope, Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Also, peace and joy remove the effects of stress in our bodies and minds.
Hardships are the main cause of offenses and resentments, which come from wrong thoughts of unfairness. If you don’t capture and loose these wrong thoughts, they will generate negative feelings and your negative feelings will produce false beliefs, which then direct destructive behaviors like anger fits, drinking, doing drugs, hurting others or yourself, depression, etc. Being thankful transforms wrong thoughts and results in peace and joy despite the hardship. I heard from a missionary to China, that the Christian Chinese people are joyful despite their hardships when many times everything is taken from them and they are put in jail.
During my job loss, I focused on God’s goodness, faithfulness, loving-kindness, and how He will cause all things to work together for my good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Abuse and loss through death are different because that involves a loss of love, which I will cover in the next post. Being thankful and focused on God and not your loss will fill you with peace and joy. Read my story in Trust God to Keep His Promises and how I experienced many miracles despite my loss in divorce.
So, what can we be thankful for? You can begin with the following 15 promises. To learn more about each promise read 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep.
- We are saved from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life.
- God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin.
- God will never leave you nor forsake you because He loves you.
- You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, and nothing will separate you from His love.
- God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
- God will cause all things to work together for good according to His purpose for those that love Him.
- God will supply all your needs according to His riches.
- When we come to God and do what He says, we will dwell secure and will find rest, without the dread of disaster.
- God is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
- God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear it. With the temptation, He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
- God gives power and strength and helps us when we trust Him.
- God is doing a new thing in your life, and He will make a way where there is no way.
- God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind when you trust Him in every situation and pray with thanksgiving as you present your requests to Him.
- If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know He hears us in whatever we ask; we know we have the requests we have asked of Him.
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Practice makes perfect. Practice being thankful every day so when hardships come you can be thankful and not let the hardship steal your peace and joy.
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P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).