"Thank You" in Everything?

“Congratulations on your miracle!”

These words from a friend’s doctor brought great rejoicing.  That doctor had told my friend it would be a miracle if she got pregnant.  And now she was pregnant.Her response:  “Thank You, Lord.  Thank You so much!!”

It's easy and natural to thank God when the news is what we want.

But it is not so easy for a 13-year-old boy I know.  He struggled through a year of chemo for a spinal cord cancer.  After three years cancer free, he just discovered it has returned.  How does he say "Thank You, Lord"?

Another friend has buried 2 loved ones in the past year. Saying “Thank You, Lord” has not been easy.

Other friends, for whose prodigal we have prayed, recently called to say their child took her own life. “Thank You, Lord?”

We know the verses:

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation…with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

In all circumstances, in every situation: Give thanks.

Easy to do when the news is good. So challenging when the news is not what we want to hear.

How can God ask such a thing? What kind of impossible requirement is that?

The answer is: God is God and God is good.

Sounds simple, glib, out of touch with reality.

But it is true. I know it because God says it. And I have proved it. Over a (now long) lifetime, I have seen it true over and over.

In fact, I have found those two words—Thank You—spoken to God are the key to amazing changes:

God seems bigger. He isn’t bigger–He is already the biggest. But He grows in my understanding and perspective. I begin to grasp that He truly is God—in control of the universe and my life—and He truly is always looking for ways to do good to me.

My heart changes. The fear, anger, confusion lessen and peace begins to grow.

Doors open. The key that is “Thank You” opens my heart and mind to see good that God is doing, to recognize opportunities, to trust God’s love and goodness at a much deeper level.

For years I have practiced saying “Thank You, Lord.” Now, when little or big challenges come, my first response is almost always “Thank You, Lord.” Almost always. Still not easy. But oh how it protects and encourages and frees my heart and my mind.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

What about you?  What has challenged your willingness to say “Thank You, Lord”?

C2012 Judy Douglass