In Romans 1, life without God is described and we are reminded that all of us must give account to God for our lives. One of the key characteristics of those who live without acknowledging God in their lives is that they refuse to honor God and they refuse to thank him (Rom 1:21). This is certainly true of us before we put our trust in Christ, but it is sometimes still true of us even after we trust him.
Refusing to give thanks demonstrates our lack of trust in God. If we trust God, then we will give thanks to him, even in our trials. In the process of choosing to give thanks in our trials, three truths about God are brought back to the forefront of our minds.
In our choice to be thankful, we are reminded of God’s presence. When we do not trust God in our trials, we live our lives as if God is not present to help us. We can know about how God acts, but have we truly taken the time to know him, spend time with him, and worship him as the creator? Intentionally taking time to thank God in your life reminds us that we are not alone in this trial. There is a faithful friend who cares and who has the power to act.
In our choice to be thankful, we are reminded of God’s goodness. In our trials, one of the most persistent thoughts is why hasn’t God intervened? David described his heartache this way, Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” In our choice to thank God for our trials, we demonstrate that we do believe in the goodness of God. This decision to thank God allows us to wait and for hope to sustain us in what seems like a delay.
In our choice to be thankful, we are reminded of God’s glory. In our trials, it’s easy to focus on what is wrong in the world. Sickness, violence, greed, and anxiety are all results of a broken world in need of redemption. Choosing to thank God in our trials reminds us that God is completely different than this. He will bring about redemption so that his people can see live the way that it was supposed to be. It’s hard to pray for the glory of God to be revealed in our trials, but one of the surest ways to reflect God’s glory is to thank him for what he is doing and will do. God is different than us, and that is a good thing.
Deciding to thank God for your trials and in your trials takes faith. We must believe that God is with us, he is good, and he is glorified as we endure and respond right to our trials. Choose on this thanksgiving to thank God for your trials. It will focus your heart and mind on the right things resulting in a life that honors God and experiences more peace, joy, and love.
P.S. From the staff of the Biblical Counseling Center, we want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We count it a privilege to have walked with many of you through deep trials and helping you find ways to thank and honor God. If your counselor was a blessing to you during your trial, share a comment below and we will be sure to pass it on to them.