In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5: 18
I’ve been reflecting on this past year, probably like many others. When I look back and see all of the many challenges, trials, and pains, it’s actually pretty easy for me to be thankful. Not because they happened, but because of who I now know through them.
Nobody enjoys experiencing pain. But pain provides us with a unique opportunity to experience God in some of His many, many forms.
We get to know Him as the Comforter because we are in great need of comfort due to major loss or intense pain. We know Him as the Great Healer when we trust Him to do what no doctor or counselor could ever accomplish. We get to meet the Prince of Peace because we are embroiled in chaos, conflict, and strife. We know Him as the Faithful One when everyone else takes their turn in letting us down. We get to experience Him as the Everlasting Father when we need someone strong to hold onto. We know Him as the Mighty Warrior when we are fighting battles left and right, and have completely run out of strength. And we know Him as the Great Provider when we trust Him and Him alone to meet our most basic needs.
It’s BECAUSE of those very troubles and pains that we seek Him out, and discover brand new (to us) facets of His character! And THAT’S the secret to “giving thanks in all things.” We can give thanks if we seek Him and find that He is ALWAYS enough! Always EXACTLY what we needed Him to be!
I have gotten to know Him the way I’ve described….and it wasn’t by having a year of fun in the sun! It cost me blood (quite literally!), sweat, and MANY MANY tears. I had my fourth and fifth strokes this year, the last one wiping out all strength in my left leg. I temporarily had to use a cane until I gained enough strength to walk without it. Then I began bleeding heavily for 73 days! I had a hysterectomy, but due to complications brought on by being on blood thinners, I had internal bleeding, which required another surgery and several days in the ICU. But that wasn’t the end! A week later, I began bleeding through the stitches and had to have my third surgery in two and a half weeks! So believe me when I say that I know Him as my Comforter, Healer, Prince of Peace, my Faithful One, Everlasting Father, Mighty Warrior, and my Great Provider!!
And it’s BECAUSE of who I now KNOW Him to be, I can praise Him in ANYTHING! (I think! ) : )