Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Being Thankful During Trials

This coming Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day to remind us to be thankful to God for His blessings.

Some members of the Church of God observe this day and some do not. It is a national holiday and voluntary for Church of God members.

But for those who observe this day in the right spirit and attitude, it can be a useful reminder of our need to give God thanks.

We should always give thanks to God for His many blessings.

But trials can distract us from the attitude of thankgiving that we should have.

When we go through trials, it is human nature for us to focus on our problems and what we don't have instead of giving thanks for what we do have. And that actually makes the trials worse, mentally anyway.

We may cry out to God for deliverance from our trials, yet He might not deliver us right away. Sometimes, after such prayer, our trials get worse. But God is testing our faith, which is good for us in the long run.

We may ask God for blessings, yet those blessings might not come for a long time.

In these circumstances, we may not, humanly speaking, feel thankful. We may think we have our hands full just fighting off feelings of resentment.

Yet, this is exactly the time when we need to shift our focus to an attitude of thankfulness for the blessings we do enjoy.

Because we know the truth of God and want to share that truth with others, truth that Satan hates, Satan would like to destroy us. And he is perfectly capable of doing so, except that God protects us. Satan can only do what God allows him to do. See Job 1:8-22 and Job 2:3-10. Satan has great power. He could kill us all very quickly, or first put us through such severe trials that we could not stand it to destroy us spiritually before he destroys us physically. But God does not allow that.

No matter what our individual trials, the fact that we exist and know God's truth is proof that God protects us. If Satan had his way, we wouldn't long exist on the earth.

And no matter what trials God puts us through, His intentions towards us are good. He is working a good purpose in us, to give us eternal life in His kingdom.

For that we can be thankful. And we can be thankful for the blessings He does give us, for we have all received some blessings. The truth itself is a blessing. Life itself, even for just the purpose of experiencing or learning lessons, is a blessing.

In times of trial, and at all times, let's try to keep ourselves in an attitude of thankfulness. Give God thanks for His blessings and His protection every day. And in our trials, give God thanks that our trials are not worse.

We tend to judge God. That is human nature. But let us judge that God is good and righteous and worthy of all thanks.

It is like the proverbial half-filled glass of water. Do we look at it and say it is half full or half empty?

When God looks at us, we hope He will judge us as half-full. We want Him to focus on the good things we have done and not our weaknesses, faults, and sins. We want Him to judge us with mercy.

When we look at God, we should also judge the glass as half-full (actually, it is perfectly full, but our human nature does not always acknowledge that). We should focus on the good things God has done and is doing for us and not the things we think He has not done for us.

Let's focus our minds, even in our trials, on the blessings God has given us and give Him thanks at all times for those blessings.

If it helps, I have a number of past posts, around Thanksgiving time, that talk about God's blessings and may give some of us ideas about what to give thanks for. See the right panel of this blog for a list of links for posts organized by year, month, and title. Click on past years, then on November, and look for posts about thanksgiving.