A few years ago, I read a statement that stuck itself in my brain and won’t seem to leave me. The author and article I have forgotten, but the words remain, “Giving thanks IN a situation is different from giving thanks FOR a situation.”
We all know that life can get ugly sometimes. Pain comes, and heartache fills the hours. There are moments of shame and regret. The people we love are hurting, and there appears to be no cure. Some seasons are full of pain in all its forms.
During those seasons I am not allowed to become grumpy and bitter. As a believer, I am instructed to live with thanksgiving in every situation. That does not mean I am thankful for the struggle, but I can still be grateful in the struggle.
When my wife and I are fighting, I am thankful for a relationship worth fighting over.
When my children are driving me crazy, I am thankful for my family.
When the pain comes from the loss of my dad, I am thankful for a father that loved me.
When I am not sure about how I am going to pay the mortgage, I am thankful for my house.
When I am tired from a full schedule, I am thankful for all I am able to do.
When my work at the Church seems fruitless, I am thankful for what God is doing in me.
When my back aches from a long day of physical labor, I am thankful for the ability to work.
When the people I love seem distant, I am thankful for a God who is always near.
When I feel the regret of sin, I am thankful for grace.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in at the moment, I believe we can still be thankful. We may not be happy about the struggles, but I find God’s goodness is still present in those times.
This week, for some of you, thanksgiving might not seem possible, but I am here to tell you that it is there if you are willing to look close enough.