Life is full of twists and turns. Beautiful twists and turns. I sometimes wonder what God thinks as He’s working in our lives. I sometimes imagine Him chuckling over a gift He’s given us. I imagine Him grieving as I suffer a loss or a disappointment. I imagine Him worrying over some choices I’ve made and how He would use it for good.
As I’ve matured in faith I’ve been learning how to trust in Him and see Him as a loving Father who wants what’s best for me. It can be hard to remember that during the challenging times but I’ve learned that during the hard times is when I grow the most. When I was newer in faith, life had a tendency to flow a bit smoother, but as I have grown in faith, there have been more bumps and bruises. It’s not a punishment but an opportunity to grow stronger in faith.
Life isn’t supposed to be easy and God never promised it would be. Once I began to accept the challenges as learning opportunities and began paying attention to the lessons He might be trying to teach me, they became easier; what I mean by that is that despite the fact that the situation might still be challenging, my perspective had changed. I was able to see a purpose for the trials and even if I don’t know what the particular lesson was, I know that there is a purpose in the work He is doing.
During this particular stage of my life, I feel like He’s trying to teach me to thank Him for the challenges. I’ve been struggling with this a bit. Who actually wants to suffer? Not me. So why would I be giving thanks? I give thanks because God uses every season and circumstance to mold and shape me. I thank Him because I’m alive and free to worship Him. I thank Him because what I might deem a tragedy or a trial, He has deemed an opportunity.
I am a huge fan of Corrie ten Boom, who was a Christian and was imprisoned by the Nazis for hiding Jews in her home in Holland. She and her sister, Betsie, were taken to a concentration camp and Betsie. In the one concentration camp, Betsie is giving thanks for everything around them:
“‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–” “The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’ “‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us. “And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.” – The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Later on you find out that the fleas actually kept the guards from entering and gave them more freedom to preach to the other prisoners and prevented their barracks from being searched.
I have to admit, I relate more to Corrie than Betsie but each challenge is an opportunity for me to thank God. I can’t say that I will always respond that way but today, I choose thankfulness. Today, I choose to trust God and the works He is doing in my life. Today, I choose prayer. Today, I choose to be thankful.
How do you respond to challenging circumstances? What do you think about giving thanks during trials?