To give thanks in every situation is sometimes very difficult. When your body is wracked with pain, or you have just learned that you have a physical problem for which there is no cure, or you have lost your job, or a cherished relationship has been broken, it’s hard to feel grateful. But we can learn to thank God because He gives us strength when we feel weak.
That’s why Paul could say, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). And as believers, we can be grateful that through such experiences God is accomplishing what is best for us. Even through our suffering, He is working for our good (Romans 8:28).
Scottish author and preacher George Matheson (1842-1906), who was blind, expressed this prayer: “My God, I have never thanked You for my thorn. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensated for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the value of my thorn.”
As we surrender ourselves to the Lord and remember that He is working in everything to accomplish our ultimate good, we can thank Him even when we are pierced by “thorns.”
It’s easier to bear the burden of suffering when we carry it with gratitude.
—Richard DeHaan, Our Daily Bread