What do you say to God through the pain? When you are suffering sadness, despair, anger, grief, bitterness…when the storms of life are swirling around you, suffocating your joy and stealing your laughter…what are you whispering, or yelling, to God?
Do you throw your hands up in defeat, mad at God for the ills in your life? Do you crumble and fall, telling God on your way down that you are done; that you can’t go on?
Or do you utter words of thankfulness? Can you muster up an attitude of gratitude when it feels like the world is crashing all around you?
Have you ever considered this as an option…or even pondered the implications of the answer?
Often times in the midst of major life challenges, the last thing we feel like doing is thanking God. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our pain, consumed by our grief and overwhelmed by emotion. Satan loves to zero in on us when we’re down, and nothing brings him more joy than driving us further away from our heavenly Father. But when we fail to acknowledge God’s love and commitment to us, EVEN in the midst of a storm, that’s exactly what happens. We immerse ourselves in pity instead of appreciating the blessings which are present, and we concentrate on the problem, not the solution. Before we know it, we’ve effectively removed the presence of God’s goodness in our lives and we’re left with nothing but our worldly view and efforts. Not a good spot to be left in!
So, how do we remember to thank God in the middle of a crisis? And even beyond that, how do we sincerely FEEL thankful when every cell in our human body is consumed with the negativity surrounding us?
Four years ago I went through one of the most difficult emotional experiences in my life. I had my first and only real glimpse into depression. It didn’t last long. It was a fast and furious, totally incapacitating and draining on my soul. For the first time in my life, however, while in the midst of crisis, I was able to thank God. I’m not sure where the strength or presence of mind came from, but I kept telling God, “Thank you for loving me and spending so much time on me. Thank you for thinking I’m important enough to work on.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2)
Was I enjoying the painful situation? Hmmmm… NO! Definitely not! But miraculously, while distraught and in pain, I was able to experience the most incredible ‘God Moments’ of complete clarity. I knew there were lessons I needed to learn and God was preparing me for my future. He wanted me to be successful. He longed to see my life filled with joy. To accomplish this, though, he needed to work on me; to spend some time on me, chipping away at the rough edges and polishing the newly exposed surfaces. I’ve never, ever felt so grateful for feeling so completely terrible. It was a major turning point in my relationship with Christ.
The next time you’re feeling down and defeated, consider what lessons you’re learning through the storm. What is God trying to teach you? Think about how much time God is spending on you and thank him for his effort and attention. It’s these moments which stretch and grow you, and prepare you for the greatness that God has in store. These are the trust building, faith deepening experiences that you don’t want to miss!
2 Corinthians 4:17 is one of my all-time favorites! “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Have you experienced thankfulness through the storm? Please tell us about it!