12+ Things to be Thankful for When Life Hurts

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You and I can be thankful "whatever happens." Not thankful for "whatever" but thankful for countless other blessings in the midst of "whatever."

Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NCV)


Whatever happens?

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

You and I can be thankful "whatever happens." Not thankful for "whatever" but thankful for countless other blessings in the midst of "whatever."

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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  1. Thank you so much, Deb! You have no idea how much I needed this today! Amazed at God’s timing as always.

    1. Oh, Carlie! I’m so glad it blessed you! Thank you so much for letting me know. God bless you and cover you with His love.

  2. My One Word for this year is persevere, but I’d never thought about being thankful for perseverance. (#8) Thank you for this Deb!

  3. There is always something to be thankful for! This is a great list and a helpful reminder of that. Blessing to you, Deb!

  4. This is a great list! I’m always thankful for who God is, His faithfulness, and that I know Him.

  5. Amen, Deb! Thanks as always for this wonderful encouragement and inspiration.

  6. Thanks for speaking into the darkness. It’s too easy for us to turn our eyes away when people are devastated!

  7. Definitely hard to focus on giving thanks when you’re feeling down, but current feelings do not change our eternal reality. Good encouragement, Deb! Thank you.

  8. This is such a great list to read when you’re feeling down. Thank you for this encouragement. Printing this out so I remember that I always have much to be thankful for!

  9. This was so, so good! I really loved being thankful for His presence.

  10. 2, 7 and 11!!! Those are what get me through the days when life hurts. Great post, Deb! Thanks for these reminders. Love you!

  11. Thanks for this reminder! When life is hard, I tend to feel like there is nothing to be grateful for; but you are right, we can always be thankful for these wonderful gifts.

    1. I’m so glad this blessed you, Kira! Thank you for visiting and stopping to say “hello.” I love the title of your blog. I’m all about pursuing joy! God’s blessings!

  12. Deb,
    I love how this fits in with the message Marva and I have been sharing this month. Even when life is hard and gratitude feels even harder … we need to dig in because it is a weapon against hopelessness! I love these 12 + things you listed!!

  13. Deb- great list! I’m leaning into #8 today. Grateful for His perseverance!
    Thank you for hosting Faith’nFriends, I was your neighbor today!

  14. What a great list! I especially love #11, his presence. Nothing compares 🙂

  15. Hi deb,
    12+ Things to be Thankful for When Life Hurts going to help me in my life. Thank you so much for there’s scriptures. I enjoy all of your blogs. God bless you deb for the wonderful Word of God. And helping other’s for your work.

  16. Darla Bowen says:

    I really enjoyed this appreciation AND gratitude list!

    1. I’m so glad it blessed you, Darla. Thank you so much for letting me know! God be with you and bless you!

  17. Sherndina Moreland says:

    Thanks for this reminder. Reading this was a blessing!

    1. I’m so glad it blessed you, Sherndina! I’m praying for you … asking God to be with you and bless you with His healing love.

  18. Cheri Mello says:

    YES , WHAT a BLESSING????????????????♥️❗️Thank YOU For the LIST ????????♥️❗️G-d♥️Bless ????