Thanks, Even for the Hard Things

On my way downstairs for my traditional day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast of pumpkin pie and coffee, I checked my phone and found this quote (from Jesus Calling) and some encouragement from the book of Psalms:

‘Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That’s why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks, regardless of your feelings, & I give you Joy, regardless of your circumstances….’” Thanksgiving the holiday is in our rear view mirror for the next 364 days… but hopefully the practice of Thanksgiving has been stimulated & will be part of every one of those 364 days, for you & me. More than 100 times in the book of Psalms, the phrase “I will…” appears. Many of those are followed with “give thanks” or something to that effect. On the way to becoming a thankful person, we will make many decisions to willfully offer up grateful prayers. Sometimes it will feel forced or even insincere. But then the day will come when we realize we have truly become grateful people! It will become our default lens for viewing life, in an ungrateful world that’s always asking foolish & selfish questions….”

I’m not always a “daily devotions” reader, but I decided to give it a try. I prayed, “God, thank you for (my annoying friend, relative, or the stranger I just met) and for the rough time I’m having at work. I think I can see some good in it. Thank you for being with us in (the current crisis reported in the news), and thank you for (some other personal challenges). I’m trusting you to get me through, even if I don’t understand.” For some of these, just the act of praying was enough to change my perspective—at least I have some friends, relatives, strangers to talk to! Others were much harder—I still don’t like some of the things I see around me, but I am thankful God is committed to us. After praying, I didn’t suddenly feel great, but I did notice a little more peace and patience. This Black Friday experience reminded me, once again, that quietly but honestly voicing my concerns can help.

{Warning: A bad application—the kind I often make—would be something like “Lord, I promise to be thankful 100%!” A much better habit to work on is trying to add a word of thanks, when I’m praying, even for some of the hard things.} 


Jesus Calling is a daily devotional, written as if Jesus were speaking directly to you. Like all devotional books, it is a mix of scripture and personal reflection. 


Be refreshed.

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