Giving Thanks in Suffering
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV
Has there been a time in your life when you felt abandoned by everyone? You have faith in God; you want to feel His goodness, yet you receive nothing? When those times happen, and yes, they happen to Christians, we think the problem is with us. We want to give God thanks and praise in those times, but we just can’t. There is just too much pain.
The beginning of understanding these feelings is to acknowledge first that God is good. While all good things come from God, he also allows but does not condone evil. In giving us free will, He provides us with the choice to follow or not to follow him. In not following, by opposing righteousness, that sin resides. The evil we experience is not of God but from unthinking, uncaring, selfish people and broken systems created by fallen men. As part of being human, we are sometimes on the receiving end, and at others, we may be the perpetrators.
In our doubt and pain, it’s sometimes hard to find God. In the Bible, we see examples of people who lamented Abraham, David, Job, and Jesus. All who came before God with their complaints, questions, and lack of understanding. It was from these encounters that God gave them the strength and courage to press on from these encounters. From the depths of despair, they rose to do great things for God.
If you are going through one of those times, here are a few scriptures I hope will comfort and uplift you.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
While we are waiting for this time of suffering to pass, praise God. Praise him with prayer, song, and gladness in our hearts. For he is with us, even when we can’t feel him. He loves us, even when we can’t love ourselves. He has plans for us; our work is not yet done.
God, we give you thanks for your many good gifts. But, most of all, we give thanks for who you are and your enduring love. In love, you created this world and placed us on it, and in love, you continue to bless us. Your love extends beyond time and dimension to forever. Thank you for your Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who serve as examples and guides. Prepare us for the day when we are joined permanently with you. In Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.