We can be walking along the road of life, minding our own business when suddenly, without warning, the storm clouds of crisis come rolling in. We are “out in the open” and unprepared, when abruptly painful tragedy rains down on us.
When times go well it is easy to take things for granted. The simple pleasures are overlooked. Blessing is expected rather than received with gratitude. Have you ever thought about how many things we take for granted every single day?
On the other hand let’s be honest. Giving thanks in the midst of agony and affliction is certainly not easy to do. When tragic times hit, there doesn’t seem to be much to be thankful for. Are we to give thanks for the heartache? Are we to give thanks for the devastation? Are we supposed to be glad that our world is caving in? No.
Yet Ephesians 5:20 tells us we should give thanks “always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” and 1 Thess 5:18 says to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Giving thanks helps us focus on God in our affliction, steers us away from complaining, strengthens our faith, and brings glory to Jesus.
We can’t always understand what happens in life. But there are many things to give thanks for in the midst of heartache.
What good could God be bringing out of a tragic accident? I don’t know. What good can God bring from cancer? I don’t know. What possible work can God be doing that would make a tragedy like my nephew’s death seem to make sense? I don’t know. All I know is what He tells us. He is still in control. He knows what He is doing.
If trouble has hit your life in some disaster or form of tragedy, the death of a loved one, a dreaded medical diagnosis, the loss of your home or the loss of your job, you are experiencing your own storm. You may feel as if your whole world has been turned upside down and wonder how you can possibly survive the loss. In times like these, you can feel very much alone. But you are never alone. God is literally everywhere. Wherever you are, God is. Whatever crisis you are facing, God is near. He is right there with you. He doesn’t leave or turn His focus elsewhere when times get tough.
We may leave God, but He will never leave us. No matter how bleak the situation, no matter how empty the feeling comes, God will never leave you! His promises are true. His word is above all! We can move forward because, He goes before us. And if God be for us, who can be against us? Hebrews 13:5…“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and though the rivers, they will not overflow you. …For I am the Lord your God …” Isaiah 43:2-3
In the midst of unspeakable sorrow, God is with you. Even if you do not feel Him near, God is there. He promises to never leave you alone. Therefore, wherever you are, God is. He is with you before, during, and after the storm, never losing sight of you, or your suffering. Even as you ponder how you will begin picking up the pieces of your life, God is there, loving you beyond understanding, holding you up, and making a way where it seems there is no way. Reach out for Him today. He is a very present help in times of trouble (see Psalm 46:1).
He understands the pain and sorrow acquainted with grief and loss. He understands because He is all knowing. Furthermore, Jesus endured suffering (see Isaiah 53) and experienced pain, even the pain of feeling abandoned (see Matthew 27:46). And because God is with you always, He knows that you are hurting. He sees your pain, and hears the cries of your heart. You are not alone in your suffering; He is there for you.
If you feel oppressed or weary or afraid, if you are grieving or anxious or disappointed or lonely or heartbroken then hear this: Psalm 9:9 promises, “The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” And Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” So if you are struggling, hear the words of our heavenly Father and remember that as we face the crises of life we can be calm because He is our refuge. In fact we should build our lives around regular times spent in the comforting refuge of God’s presence.
Someday we will see His plan and we will rejoice and give thanks. For now, we can only give thanks for the promise.
Thank you Heavenly Father that you are surely with us. Thank you that you care. Thank you that your presence is close and that you weep with those who weep. We need you. We know and believe beyond any doubt, that your power and love will never fail. We thank you that you alone are our refuge, our strong tower, our defender and our peace.