Trying to be thankful during hurt is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Whether it is the hurt caused by another, rejection, loss, depression, or failure, stepping out of the hurt long enough to recognize that God is sovereign and always has what is best for me and being thankful, is hard.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I don’t want to suffer hurt because, well, it hurts. Being rejected over and over makes me feel like a failure. The loss of a job or an expectation can feel like the loss of a friend or family member. I just want to hide in the closet (or shower) and cry. Grieving is not just for the loss of a loved one. Sometimes we have to grieve the loss of an expectation because things didn’t happen as we expected them to.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Our plans, however, are not the plans that drive the universe. The Bible tells us over and over again that we can make all the plans we want, but that God is in control. I might not “feel” like being thankful but I am commanded to. Besides that, I should WANT to be thankful. Even if God never did another thing for me, look what He has already done! Salvation, sanctification, justification, and I could go on and on!
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
I may not like the situation I am in now, but I still have reasons to be thankful. It may not be what I wanted, but I wasn’t promised that anyway. When I surrendered to Christ, my life became His to do with as HE pleased. He owns me as a slave yet he treats me like a son. He could do anything He wishes with His property yet He chooses to bless me and be in a relationship with me.
How can I not be thankful?
When you feel rejected or hurt, encourage yourself in the Lord. Make a list of everything you are or can be thankful for. Life, breath, salvation, whatever the Lord brings to your mind. Focus on what He has given you, not on what you’ve been coveting. Repent for anything you have been coveting over Him. Tell God ‘thank you’ for all He has blessed you with and all He has saved you from. Find scripture that encourages your heart to trust Him to provide what is best for YOU.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)