Gratitude In the Midst

“Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go.’” Isaiah 30:20-21

“I’m so happy I have this problem!” Ever said that? Probably not, but the Bible says we are to be joyful in suffering because it is an opportunity for us to see God at work in our lives. Our problems give God an opportunity to reveal himself and his power to us, perhaps in a way we have never seen before. But we must remember to turn our eyes toward him, seek him, and praise him, even in the midst of our problems, instead of depending on our own strength and wisdom.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no masochist. When problems come, I work as hard as the next person to get out of them or around them as soon as possible. Working through them is not on my list of fun things to do. But one benefit I have noticed about the hard times is that, at the lowest points of my life, those were the times I drew closest to God and sought him most fervently. Looking back at my life, the deepest valleys were the pinnacle points in my relationship with Him. Think about it: when life seems to be going your way, are you on your knees seeking God to thank Him for all he has done? Are you praying several times a day, beseeching His presence and trying to get his attention? When life is easy and good, we tend to coast in our spiritual lives. We may still have a quiet time and thank him, but the tough times are when we really work to come into His presence; that is when we make the time to pray.

The tough times are teaching moments; that is when our faith is proven and becomes most evident, because at those times, faith is all we have left. You may not have control over much in those situations, but you always have the power to change your perspective, so try being grateful when you have a problem. Start praising him and you will be amazed how quickly your fears will vanish. Make it an opportunity to draw closer to God and watch for his mighty power to work wonders in your life. Doing that can find you wrapped in God’s love and enraptured in His almighty presence. And you just might get to witness a miracle in the midst of it.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for the opportunities you give us that draw us close to you and help us know you better. We recognize that the tough times can be blessings in disguise and we thank you for your guidance through those times as you walk with us - and sometimes carry us - through them. Help us to know you, love you and trust you more as we weather the storms of this life, and help us to be grateful for your presence in our lives, whether in abundance or in times of adversity. Sometimes it is hardest to draw close to you when life is good but we want to be close to you in all times, regardless of our current situation. Our deepest and most heartfelt desire is to know you, serve you and belong to you, heart, mind, body and soul. Fill us this day with a greater awareness of your joy, hope, peace and love. We love you and praise you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“I have told you these things so in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be made mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:2-5

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?’” Luke 17:15-17

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