How to Be Thankful (Even When Nothing is Going Right)
It’s a fact of life that sometimes things just don’t go the way we would like them to. We’ve all experienced shortcomings, hardships, and journeys through the valley. Not every part of life can be spent on the mountaintop!
Jesus reminds us of this in John 16:33 where he says, “…In the world you will have tribulation…” However, there’s another verse (1 Thessalonians 5:18) that tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances…”
The two verses almost seem contradictory, like they shouldn’t be written in the same book. Yet, there they are. We are instructed to give thanks always, even through our troubles.
But such a commandment can seem so daunting and unrealistic at times, especially when life’s hardships are so painful. How could we possibly lift up thanks for such crummy circumstances?
In order to understand how to be thankful in those situations, we must understand why we should be thankful. Let’s dive in to five powerful reasons that are going to change the way you see the negative parts of your life forever!
Remember God’s Plan is Higher
The first thing I like to remember when I’m tempted to be ungrateful is the fact that God’s plan is higher than my plan. The Bible teaches us that all good and perfect things come from the Lord (James 1:17), and it’s the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. So God doesn’t make bad things happen to us. However, sometimes He does allow it to happen (John 10:10).
Take the story of Job, for example. God allowed Satan to strike everything Job owned and loved. He literally gave everything of Job’s over to Satan to do with it what he pleased… Except for one thing: Job’s life. The devil was not allowed to kill him, all because God set a limit.
Sometimes God allows things to happen, but only as far as He sees fit.
This is a very sad story and can seem really discouraging at first. But the true reason for it is to see that even when God allows negative things to take place in our lives, it’s for a good and just reason. At the end of the book of Job, it’s revealed that the reasoning for Job’s losses were to grow his faith and help him understand the true power and majesty of God. Then God restored to Job twice as much as he had before!
Take heart, my friend, and know that the Lord would never allow such hardships without a higher plan for them!
Know The Truth of Romans 8:28
Which leads us into the next truth: the truth of Romans 8:28. This bible verse states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
God’s Word clearly tells us that He is always working everything to our advantage. Every bad day, every betrayal from a friend, every lost job, every sickness, every death. It can all have a higher purpose and positive meaning in Christ!
The next time you’re tempted to get mad at God for your hardships, say that “nothing good happens to you,” or simply just not know what to be thankful for, remember Romans 8:28 and the Lord’s precious promise to you.
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Look for the Positives: How Can You Grow?
Now that we have proof that God is going to do great things through our difficulties, let’s start looking for those things! Sometimes it takes a while for the true meaning of your hardship to unfold. However, we can always begin looking for the little things right now!
A huge reason that God allows hardships is to grow our relationship with Him. When nothing’s going right, don’t give in to the temptation of pulling away from God because you blame Him or you’re just too upset to spend time with Him. Resist the devil’s attempts to drag you away from God, and push into the Lord all the more!
We can use our hard times to rely on God’s strength and higher knowledge to get us through, which in the end helps us realize on a deeper level His amazing power! When we get to know God better, then our relationship with Him grows to new heights. Which should be our goal in everything we do!
Focus On What You DO Have
Another great thing to do when it seems that nothing is going right is to force yourself to realize that some things really ARE going right! It’s so easy to get trapped in the mentality that “woe is me” and life is just all terrible at the moment. But really deep down, we know that’s not true.
The enemy wants nothing more than for you to be trapped in depression, hopelessness, and the lie that your life is just nothing of worth. Because when you’re focused on what you DON’T have, for example:
A boyfriend or husband
Fulfillment in your job
Enough money to pay the bills
A nicer house
A newer car
A skinnier body
Then you can’t focus on what you DO have, for example:
A friend in God
Purpose in Christ
A Lord that always provides
The shelter, transportation, and body that God needs you to have right now
I challenge you right now to write a list of all the good things God has blessed you with. This might be hard for some, and that’s okay. But search really deep within you to find the positives in even the things that seem so small or without impact in your life. I promise once you start you won’t be able to stop! God really has blessed you with more than you think.
Realizing the Power of Our Words
This last point ties in with the real reason for making that list. Why that list is so important is because our words have so much power. If we constantly are speaking negative phrases over ourselves and our lives then that’s what we’re going to get!
The Word of God tells us in Proverbs 18 that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (v. 21), as well as in Proverbs 21 “whoever keeps his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (v. 23).
What if by speaking aloud about our hardships, telling every friend and family member what's going wrong, constantly complaining to God about what we’re lacking, worrying in our heads about the troubles we’re facing, we were actually bringing in more? If we continuously dwell on the bad then that’s all we’re going to see and have room for.
By choosing to focus on the positive we will begin to naturally see more positives, as well as make room for more faith that God can lift us out of the pit we’re in. We must speak what we want to come true by putting faith in God to, like Job, deliver us and bless us with double than what we had before.
We can do this by being thankful for what we have, as well as being thankful for what we know is to come!
Take heart, my friend, knowing that God is right now working everything for your good! Be thankful for your hardships, while counting your blessings and speaking only words that will uplift you. Strive to discover how you can grow in the Lord from every situation. Talk about what you want to see happen, not what you currently see happening. Because our God is a God of faith, not a God of sight!
Yours In Christ,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
“Give thanks in all circumstance; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up.” Ephesians 4:29
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22