“You mean I am supposed to be thankful for my child being in addiction? I am to thank God that they are destroying their lives and our hearts in the process? All the darkness and ugliness that has taken them over – even for that?”
It is so much easier to thank God in spite of the circumstances, to rise above, so to speak, and thank Him for keeping us through the pain and heartache. It is a whole different thing to thank Him for the situation and the ripping, shredding, violently consuming agony we are experiencing.
Hebrews 13:15 says Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (emphasis mine)
A sacrifice is something that costs us. If it is easy, it is not a sacrifice.
God knows that for us to thank Him for difficult situations means that we are trusting Him to bring about good in that situation, even if it may not look the way we want it to look. The good may only be our own growth and deeper walk with Father. It might be the ability to come alongside others who are hurting the way we are and share what we have learned. It may be that our kids finally stop running and come to the place of brokenness and healing. Thanking Him signifies that we are taking our hands off the problem, have stopped attempting to fix our kids, and have stopped trying to control them (by the way, that doesn’t work). Thanking Him allows the refiner’s fire to clean and heal us so that He can bring beauty out of the ashes of our broken dreams and desires.
A special friend of mine gave me a poem many years ago that has stayed with me through so many difficult times.
The Gain of Losses
My anxious soul tonight is stirred,
Like some content yet caged bird,
I live surrounded by the wealth of pleasure —
Friends, home, delights, enjoyment without measure.
God’s voice unto my soul His peace hath spoken;
Our bond of union hath remained unbroken.
Yet, when some heart-loved treasure He denies,
In agony my longing spirit cries:
“Lord, when can I attain to this –
To thank Thee for the things I miss?”
My yielded heart would not rebel;
He doeth all His dealings well.
His watchful eye is o’er His children ever;
His promised care and strength have failed me never.
I know the way Omnipotence hath planned
Must far exceed that formed by Man’s own hand.
Yet to be really glad He wills it so
Seems more than I can ever feel or know.
I surely cannot utter this —
A prayer of thanks for what I miss.
I wish through grace that He applies
To cease to crave what He denies:
Still were the gaping wound so truly hidden
That not again would tears gush forth unbidden,
His love henceforth would have no void to fill;
His peace would have no clamoring voice to still;
And I should never feel His love and power
Flooding my soul in every lonely hour.
So, if through loss I find His bliss,
I’ll thank Him for the things I miss.
– author unknown