Even in the Storm - Day 17 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
When I slow down enough to think, it’s pretty easy to be thankful for the good stuff in life. It doesn’t take any work to thank God for each one of my kids. I am continually thankful for Rachel. It was easy to give thanks when I was building a sand castle with my kids and brother on a beach in Florida.
But, does thankfulness flow into times of difficulty?
As a follower of Christ, we are called to be thankful in all circumstances. In the good times and the bad times, we are called to walk as Jesus walked - and Jesus demonstrated his love for us by dying on the cross to pay for our sins.
The Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated Christ. [“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 11:1] Paul was thankful in all circumstances, including when he was shipwrecked, beaten, thrown in prison, and a host of other trials. [“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18]
Being thankful for a trial doesn’t mean that we need to be happy about the trial. There is nothing happy about burying a loved one or walking the road of sickness yourself. But, even in the trial, you can demonstrate an attitude of thankfulness.
When we were walking the trial of infertility for seven years, Rachel and I wanted more than anything to be parents. We wanted to wake up one day to find out that Rachel was pregnant. We wanted others to be congratulating us and throwing Rachel a baby shower. The pain we experienced for those seven years was great.
But we didn’t need to look far to be thankful for what we did have. We had a marriage that was strengthening in the trial. We had friends that had walked a similar road that came alongside us. We grew in our faith in ways that would have been impossible had it not been for the trial.
Followers of Jesus grow closer to Christ in a trial as they rely more and more on him. During our walk through infertility, we could choose to either get bitter and angry at God, turn away from him, or run to him. We choose the latter.
When Anders died, we had already spent years relying on God during the hard times and since he had shown up before, we knew he would carry us again.
And that’s exactly what happened.
While our hearts were broken, we didn’t feel hopeless - we felt peace. Leaning into our faith in Jesus led to further growth of our faith.
It seems impossible to experience peace in the midst of sudden loss. To the world, it doesn’t make any sense. But over and over again, people of faith experience this kind of peace. Rachel and I are simply one of the many testimonies of peace in the middle of a storm.
This kind of peace falls right in line with the character of God. In Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 Jesus and his disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep after speaking to a large crowd at the Sermon on the Mount and it was night. Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen but when a storm suddenly arose, even the most experienced sailors were terrified. They were in the middle of a literal storm. They woke Jesus up, terrified for their life, and Jesus commanded the storm to be still.
Even though they were with Jesus, the disciples still experienced the storm, but in the storm, their faith grew as they saw Jesus for who he was, Creator and Lord.
Some of you, you’ve experienced the peace that comes in the storm. For others, you maybe haven’t experienced that peace. You’ve gone through a terrible trial and only felt pain and hurt. For that, I am so sorry. There is only one source of peace, and that is the Prince of Peace, Jesus and it comes through a relationship with him.
If you have questions about this depth of faith, please reach out. I’d love to chat.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 4:5-6
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