“THANKING GOD “IN” DIFFICULTY”
Giving thanks is an indication that a person’s heart is full because of an awareness of God’s power and presence filling their lives. Indeed, some of the most likable, congenial, and genuine people are some that have had sorrows beyond imagination. Yet, in the midst of those heartaches, they found a way to give their sorrows to the LORD and learn ways “through the tears” to live and seek to use their deepest heartaches as motivations to encourage, bless, help, and care for others from a sincere faith.
A tragedy left a family with a void that nothing could fill. A toddler chasing a cat wandered into the road and was run over by a delivery truck. A 4-year-old watched in shocked silence as her parents cradled the lifeless body of her little sister. For years, the cold emptiness of that moment encased the family in sadness. Feelings were frozen. The only comfort was numbness. Relief was unimaginable.
Author Ann Voskamp was the 4-year-old, and the sorrow surrounding her sister’s death formed her view of life and God. The world she grew up in had little concept of grace. Joy was an idea that had no basis in reality. As a young mother, a tragedy left a family with a void that nothing could fill. A toddler chasing a cat wandered into the road and was run over by a delivery truck.
As a young mother, Voskcamp set out to discover the elusive thing the Bible calls joy. The words for joy and grace come from the Greek word “charis”, which she found out is at the center of the Greek word for thanksgiving. Could it be that simple? She wondered….
To test her discovery, Voskamp decided to give thanks for 1,000 gifts she already had. She started slowly but soon gratefulness was flowing freely. Just as Jesus gave thanks before, not after, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41), Voskamp discovered that giving thanks brought to life feelings of joy that had died along with her sister. Joy comes from thanksgiving.
“Lord, I thank You that You have the power to raise the dead. May the feelings of joy that arise from our thanksgiving be seeds of grace to those who are afraid to feel.” The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving. (Julie Ackerman Link).
Once a person learns to live with a grateful heart for God’s presence, power, and provisions at work in one’s life, then others seek them out. Living in gratitude opens doors to speak, encourage, and bless scores of people that would love to learn the secret of enjoying that kind of life. To live with that kind of focus and witness requires continually honoring God’s Word.
Colossians 3:15-17 – – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I love what Corrie ten Boom once taught. People thank me so much, and it used to worry me because I didn’t want to get a big head. So, I began to collect those compliments like flowers. ‘Thank you,’ I’d say. ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ Then at the end of the day I’d kneel down, and I’d say, ‘Here You are Jesus, they’re all Yours.'” (Copied).