I’m guessing if you had to, you could quickly make a list of 100 things that you are thankful for. But, are you grateful for all things or just the good things? Are you appreciative in all circumstances or just when things are going well? Like the Thanksgiving holiday, most of us tend to be somewhat selective and seasonal in our gratitude. That is, our thankfulness is in direct proportion to whether or not things are going our way.
Around Thanksgiving, we spend time thanking God for all of the good things we have in our lives. Nothing wrong with that. But, have you also thanked God for the bad things, the misfortunes, the “no” answers, the closed doors and struggles of life?
God’s will is that we be grateful in all circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:18). It’s easy to be thankful for all the good—and we should do that. But, what if we grew in gratefulness? Stop and think how you could be thankful for the bad as well. Things like a lost job. Financial stress. Failing health. Falling grades. Family dysfunction. An accident. Lost love. A death.
It’s easy to be thankful when life is a bowl of cherries. But, how you handle the pits is what matters. That’s a lot more difficult isn’t it? In fact, it requires a total change of perspective.
God is transforming us in Christ into something far better. That means we have to be purified, strengthened and refined. It is the burdens, tests and trials of life that do this best. It is only in the crucible where we learn to rely more on God and less on ourselves. As such, the finest steel is that which has gone through the hottest fires.
And so, while we do and should thank God for all our blessings, we should also thank God for the unBlessings too. Trials, temptations, difficulties, obstacles and struggles are the bumps along the path of faith that form you, grow you, and strengthen you.
The unBlessings mature our faith, strengthen our love, tighten our focus and refine us as God deems best. We know the Shepherd is there in the green pastures and beside the still waters, but it is only in the valleys where we get to know Him and trust Him.
It’s these times for which ought to be especially grateful.