Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thankfulness In Trials: Hypocrisy....or Obedience?

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 This verse has caused a break-through in my thinking in the past 6 months. In the midst of an intense trial, a dear friend of mine, Marge Garron, shared with me that "thankfulness is the key that opens the door to joy in the midst of trial." Of course it seems almost backwards- it seems that you would just say "thank you, God" and go on your way, and nothing would change about your circumstance or the way you feel. And it's true that often the circumstances don't change for awhile. A few months ago, I decided to force myself to thank God for the circumstances I found myself in. They were to me obviously ordained and allowed by God, and the kind that throw your whole life for a loop when you least expect it. So I began to say to God each morning, "I don't understand why this is happening, but I know You are always in control, that this is Your will, and I thank you for bringing this into my life." Now, because I didn't feel thankful, was that hypocrisy? No, it was obedience. It is way too easy to say "Thank You, God!" or "God is Good!" when things have just gone smoothly and all is well in our world. But it takes often forcing ourselves to say thank you to God when every feeling in our being is otherwise inclined. I believe this is also how God would have us pray for people in our lives who are not right with God, and whose sin is affecting us. If you thank God for that person, it frees your heart to forgive them (more on this in a later post), and helps you see how God can use them in your life to make you more Godly.
You say "I thanked Him, but nothing changed." The circumstances often don't change, nor does how you feel about what is going on. But something else happens: you begin to see through the eyes of faith that God really does love you, and you have the secure hope that all things do work together for good. And the peace! Not to mention the joy from knowing that you have obeyed God. He really does bless efforts of obedience with a real sense of peace and joy deep down in your heart. Then, amazingly, you realize that you do feel thankful for this crazy, unpleasant circumstance! It's like a ball that you get rolling, and then you can't stop it. It really does lift you up above the winds of the trial, and you are spiritually stable even while the boat is rocking.
Do you force yourself to be thankful for something hard? It's not hypocrisy- it's obedience, and when practiced, there are many blessings to follow!!


jking82 said...

This is so good and true! Would you mind if I shared this with my ladies at the church?

Leah said...

Sure, I don't mind. We all need to experience this!