Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NCV)
When I was curled up in the fetal position broken and feeling like I’d never feel happy again giving thanks was not a priority.
Slowly, I began finding reasons to be thankful . . . not for my circumstances but for my blessings. And I believe that’s how you and I can be thankful “whatever happens.” Not thankful for “whatever” but thankful for countless other blessings in the midst of “whatever.”
So, I want to share my list of things to be thankful for when life hurts with you!
12+ Things to be Thankful for When Life Hurts
1. Be Thankful for People
Whatever happens – there are people in your life who care about you. God put them around you because He loves you. Even the annoying ones are there to teach you something. And if you’re feeling lonely today. Look around. You are not alone. Reach out. Ask for help. Let God use people to bless you.
We have so much joy before our God because of you. We cannot thank him enough for all the joy we feel. 1 Thessalonians 3:9
2. Be Thankful for Provision
You have a roof over your head. You have food to eat and clothes to wear. You drink clean water. No, you may not have every want realized but I’m guessing, like me, you have more than you really need. Stop looking at what isn’t today and thank Him for what is.
My God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need. Glory to our God and Father forever and ever! Amen. Philippians 4:19–20
3. Be Thankful for Possibility
This moment is not the end. God is at work in you and in your circumstances. Keep an eternal perspective and thank God for being greater than your whatever.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For people this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
4. Be Thankful for Prayer
Prayer is an amazing gift. The God of the universe loves listening to your prayers. Take your whatever circumstances to Him and thank Him for the blessing of prayer.
When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who cannot be seen. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Matthew 6:6
5. Be Thankful for Pardon
You don’t have to make amends or earn your forgiveness. By God’s grace, through Jesus, you and I can just tell God we’re sorry and ask Him to forgive and help us change and . . . we are forgiven. Wow!
But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9
6. Be Thankful for Patience
God is able to give you the patience you need to endure in any situation. Not by your strength but by the power of His Spirit you have all you need to live today.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. Colossians 1:9
7. Be Thankful for Peace
God is able to give peace when life is in turmoil. Peace when peace seems impossible. Just ask Him to help you focus on Him and not on your whatever.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
8. Be Thankful for Perseverance
God will give you the strength you need today and He will give you enough strength when tomorrow arrives. One day at a time, you can have all you need to persevere.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. Romans 5:3–4
9. Be Thankful for His Plan
You are here at God’s pleasure. He has a plan for you. A plan based on His love. You and I can be thankful for the hope we can find in that truth.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. Psalm 40:5
10. Be Thankful for His Power
God is in control. When your life is out of control you can trust the power of the One who created the world, raised Jesus from the dead, and holds you safely in His hand.
“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! Great and powerful God, your name is the Lord All-Powerful.” Jeremiah 32:17,18b
11. Be Thankful for His Presence
God is with you whether it feels like it or not. He has given you the Holy Spirit who faithfully reminds you . . . God loves you and wants you to find your hope in His eternal promises.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. Romans 5:5
12. Be Thankful for His Promises
Not one of God’s promises is too good to be true. You can trust Him. He has kept every promise in the past and He will continue to keep His promises into the future.
Know then that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God. He keeps His promise and shows His loving-kindness to those who love Him and keep His Laws, even to a thousand family groups in the future. Deuteronomy 7:9
Bonus. Be Thankful – You are Precious to Him
He loves you! He calls you precious. The God of the universe knows everything about you and delights in you.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him; He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. Psalm 72:12–13
Jesus’ words are true. “In this world you will have trouble.”
He also says, “But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
When “whatever” happens and it’s hard to give thanks. Join me and read through this list. You and I have so many incredible eternal blessings that have the power to give hope and encouragement and reasons to give thanks.
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