The scripture says to thank God for everything. This has always been convicting to me. It’s rather easy to thank God for my life blessings, but what about those things that have wounded me deeply? Those things I see as negatives, which have fundamentally affected my life? Those wounds on my soul that have left lasting effects? Can I thank Him for these? Is this what He requires?
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20 NLT
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
Negatives in My Life
Usually we have one major thing, if not more, that fundamentally and radically affects our lives. They range from a single event to a prolonged relationship, but at the core, it alters our lives in a dramatic way. And mostly they are viewed as negative.
So is God asking me to thank Him for these? Is He looking for me to be thankful for my most painful life-altering events or situations? Those events that have tempted me to not trust anymore, or made me live with an emotional limp? These events are to earn my thanks? Why?!
What I have learned, often in the most painful ways, is God actually does work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. This means hurtful things as well as blessings. And usually it’s the painful situations that affect me more than even the blessings.
God Is Sovereign Over My Life
It comes down to this—His sovereignty over my life. Can I trust God’s sovereign hand and His character in my life dealings? Yes, because when I come to the place of thanking Him for those painful events or situations, then He reveals to me His purposes and plans in them. And here is the weirdest part: then they become blessings themselves. What I called curse is revealed as actual blessing!
Things in my life that I would’ve said were the most negative actually have been exposed as my biggest blessings. Painful, soul-crushing things that, when isolated in a void of God, would be nothing anyone would celebrate. But there they stand as beacons of my blessing. Like a door open into my life to let the Lord flood me with treasure.
I’m not going to give examples of this because each person has to walk this path alone with the Lord. No one can tell us that an abuse is a blessing until God has revealed it. And it’s only revealed to those who make the first step and thank Him.
The secret of the suffering is only revealed to those who make the first step and thank Him.
In our fallen world, shocking measures are taken to bring me into glorious Life. Crushing circumstances to crack my pride, hurtful situations to expose my raw need and penetrating pains to ignite my motivation.
My Life Obedience
At the end of the day, I have two choices with my life pains—bitterness or thankfulness. I can let the suffering fester and make me toxic or I can thank the Father and let Him bring forth Life. I have the choice ever before me – life or death, blessing or curse.
The first step is the obedient choice to thank Him. And at the beginning, it is only a choice. Thank you, Father, that You’re God. Thank you that You are sovereign. Thank you that You truly can work all things together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. Thank you that You care more about my eternal destiny than to listen to my momentary opposition. I thank you that I can trust You with my life, even in my pain.
From there it’s His to will and to do of His good pleasure. When I obediently thank Him, even if I don’t understand, then He meets me at my choice and floods me with acceptance, revelation and understanding. And eventually I will see Him and how it was used. I will see what I called a curse revealed as a blessing. He is my sovereign God!