Gratitude in Affliction
At Thanksgiving, we typically express gratitude for God's blessings. But did you ever consider thanking Him for something that doesn't seem like a blessing—such as a trying circumstance you want Him to remove or change? A grateful heart is most precious to God when, humanly speaking, our situations don't warrant giving thanks. By making four foundational decisions, we can begin to see the value of our adversities and respond with appreciation.
Believe and trust the Lord. Only by viewing life from a scriptural perspective can we understand His purposes in our trials and trust His wisdom in allowing them.
Accept the situation as coming from God—either directly sent or permissively allowed. If we truly believe He's working for our good (Rom 8:28-29), we can choose to receive each difficulty as coming from His loving hand. Then we can say "Thank You."
Submit to God in the circumstance. Although we may not like the situation, knowing that God "[is] good and does good" (v. 68) allows us to confidently place our lives under His authority.
Draw from Him the strength to endure. No one has the ability within himself to endure hardships with gratefulness. Only by relying on the Lord can believers go through adversity with an appreciative heart.
Now, think about that circumstance you would like changed, and with a new mindset, offer this prayer to God: "Lord, I accept this situation as coming from You. In faith and trust, I place myself under Your loving authority, and draw from You the strength I need to endure with gratitude."
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.