Musing on gratitude in our problems; when suffering or sad I change my perspective; I ‘Give thanks in all circumstances’
St Paul also talks about ‘Giving thanks to God for everything’ (Ephesians 5:20). Men and women through history, have taken this further step, expressing gratitude for, as well as in, the toughest of situations.
It’s moving from gratitude for the light outside the tunnel, the green, quiet pastures outside the dark valley, to being grateful for the tunnel or the dark valley itself.
Joni Eareckson Tada, talks powerfully about being grateful for her quadriplegia: ‘Most of us are able to thank God for his grace, comfort, and sustaining power in a trial, but we don’t thank him for the problem, just finding him in it. Many decades in a wheel chair have taught me not to segregate my Saviour from the suffering he allows…’
Nancy Leigh Moss describes her experience of deep disappointment, personal loss: ‘…healing and release began when I said, ‘Lord, I’m willing to thank you for trusting me with this experience, even if you never tell me why.’ No, my circumstances didn’t change. But He changed me in the midst of them…’
Musing on the early persecution of the church (Acts 8):
- Suffering: Stephen has been martyred; many Christians are persecuted and imprisoned
- Scattering: Many flee for their life, becoming political/religious refugees
- Spreading: They take their Christian faith with them. Through suffering and persecution, a good, higher purpose is worked out.
I haven’t got there yet, either in my head or my heart. Where I’ve got to today is:
- Gratitude for dark places of pain and suffering allows light to come in.
- Gratitude may not change my circumstances or suffering, but it changes me.
- Today’s pain may appear meaningless but it’s working towards a higher, redemptive purpose.
And so I seek to be grateful for my problems.