Monday, November 3, 2014

Giving Thanks When You're Hurting

We're setting aside the month of November to discuss thankful attitudes. I've always felt like I could write thanksgiving posts with one hand tied behind my back. It's not that difficult to come up with some cheesy, schmaltzy post about all the blessings in our lives when we're trying to impress others. We don our Suzy Christian masks and pull out all the right words. After all, Jesus died for our sins and that's plenty to be thankful for!

I'm not trying to trivialize the typical Thanksgiving post. We all mean well, and we know we should be thankful. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for. But the difference between knowing that and living it...well, sometimes that's a chasm too wide to cross.

Such is how I was feeling last week. I was disappointed and discouraged. I was deeply hurt, and I didn't feel like putting on a fake smile and sloughing it off. I needed to mourn a bit. Providentially, my Bible reading the next morning answered some of the questions I was struggling with. I began to see how to handle the situation,  but I didn't understand why it was happening. I wanted comfort.

As I was getting ready for work, I was listening to Pandora's Sovereign Grace station. One of the songs brought tears to my eyes.

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain?
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain?
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought?
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified
~Mark Altrogge

I realized then that too often my thanksgiving is conditional. I am quick to praise God in the good times; it's not so easy when I'm hurting. Yet a life that glorifies God requires me to give thanks equally, in all circumstances. Not that I should put on a fake smile and thank God for the thorn - Paul asked God three times to remove his (2 Cor.12:8) - but that I should thank Him that He is sovereign over the thorn and every detail of my life. Even when I'm hurting.


Come Weary Saints by Sovereign Grace Music is a beautiful and encouraging compilation of songs for times of pain and suffering

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