The headlines today scream of difficult situations everywhere: terror attacks, natural disasters, car accidents, disease. Children around the world face poverty, violence in the home or community, families are disintegrating. So how can we be expected to be thankful in this season, in these circumstances?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
We may ask,
- How could God expect me to give thanks when this happened?
- Why would we be thankful when our circumstances feel hopeless?
We can give thanks because all that we have, all that we are, is due to God’s gracious care for us. Because of the Lord’s great love that will never change, never fade, we can give thanks. Because He is good, we can choose gratitude.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34
Difficulties can cause us to appreciate blessings and people we often take for granted when life is easy. Gratitude keeps us from losing hope in hard times. When we choose to be thankful, it is good for our mental and physical health.
Here are a few tips to finding things to be grateful for even when times are tough:
- Look around at nature: watch a sunrise or sunset, look at leaves or clouds, listen to the birds sing. All of these point to God’s unchanging love for us which is as sure as the seasons.
- Look at the people around you. Truly consider each person in your life and how your life is richer because of that person.
- Choose one thing to be thankful for each day—it can be something big or something little.
Undoubtedly, it’s difficult to be thankful during tough times, but that’s when we grow the most. When we face challenging situations it’s an opportunity to practice traits like grace, empathy, patience and humility, which all bring us closer to knowing Christ—and for that we can certainly thank our Heavenly Father.