November: it’s the month of gratitude. As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, many of us will be sharing around the dinner table what we’re grateful for. I love the opportunity that the holiday season brings to focus on gratitude and celebrate our blessings with loved ones.
But what about when we don’t feel grateful? What if we’re facing a challenge at work or in our personal lives that leaves us feeling anything but thankful?
Maybe you work with a real jerk who makes you dread waking up each weekday. Are you supposed to be grateful? Or perhaps you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage or dealing with a rebellious child. Does God really expect gratitude in all circumstances?
I face the challenge of being grateful despite some less-than-desirable circumstances as my daughter continues to fight a years-long health battle. Questions like “why me?” are natural when we face trials. But one simple fact can turn our ungratefulness upside down: God uses our trials for good.
That’s why Paul, while he was imprisoned, beaten, and close to death, was about to say that because of his trials “God had used him to throw the door of faith wide open so people of all nations could come streaming in” (Acts 14:27). Is it possible that Paul was grateful for his trials because he knew it brought God glory? Scripture tells us yes – it is possible to be thankful, truly thankful, even when we don’t feel like it.
Proverbs says “a happy heart makes the face cheerful” (Proverbs 15:13). Gratitude isn’t about circumstances; it’s about the posture of our hearts.
If you’re struggling to feel gratitude because of challenges in your life; if things aren’t going quite as you hoped and planned; if it feels like everyone around you has cause for celebration but you somehow missed the boat: take heart. Remember that God can use any circumstance for your good and His glory. Start by thanking him for that, and you’ll find gratitude start to flow from your heart.