We are often appropriately reminded to be thankful. When things are going smoothly in life, being thankful is easy. But, let’s face it, life can be hard and being thankful can sometimes be a challenging task. Sometimes, we can focus so much on what is going wrong in our lives that we lose sight of the many blessings God has given us.
What does God say about being thankful? He tells us to “Rejoice always,pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).
How can we rejoice always when we are facing a trial in life? Well, rejoicing—or expressing joy—is different from happiness. You may not be happy with how things are in your life because happiness is sometimes contingent on life circumstances. But joy is deeper than happiness. Joy is not contingent on life circumstances, and it is unique in that it not only comes from the Lord but also is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And as Christians, we can be joyful despite ever-changing life circumstance because we know ultimately we have God.
Secondly, God instructs us to pray without ceasing. God wants you to be in constant communication with Him. He wants to know the desires of your heart, but more importantly, He desires a personal relationship with you. Quiet time with Him is crucial because this is when He often reveals things to us. Unfortunately, when we are going through a life crisis and need him most, our prayer time often takes a back seat for one reason or another. Personally, I tend to analyze and wonder “why me, why now, etc.” It is easy to question God and His plan during these times and yes, the answers to “why” questions may give us a sense of peace at times, but God does not always reveal these answers to us. However, we can find comfort that He always reveals the “how” to us. “How can I get through this?” The answer is always the same—through Him and no other way! Drawing near to God each day and resting in the “how’s” can usually help us to have a clearer vision and allows us to see the “why’s” that God is revealing to us.