Now that we understand that finding our joy means praising God in the storm and that requires baby steps at first (and periodically by the way when things get difficult as they tend to do), we need to also begin to think about blessings we may not have ever even noticed. We can get so caught up in what has happened, should have happened, shouldn’t have happened, and might happen in the future, that we often forget to notice all the times in our lives we should be grateful for all the things great and small that God has done behind the scenes that we never even realized or thought much about. Doing so can help us to see even more blessings and feel God near when struggles take over our thoughts and feelings bringing a cloud of despair over us.
2. Blessings for worst not happening
In the midst of terrible pain, it’s often hard to see what could be worse and, to be honest, we don’t often care. We just know where we are now is bad. However, looking at the bright side can truly make a person thankful because, believe it or not, there are so many situations where we could be worse off.
Food prices up? Praise God that you have the money to buy them. Health bad? Praise God that you have the time to rest. Sick? As you pray for healing be thankful it isn’t fatal. Serious illness? Be thankful that there is still hope. And if a loved one has passed away, praise God he is no longer suffering and is with Jesus in heaven.
Now, these things may sound easy to some, but they are not at all easy to do when you are in the middle of a struggle especially when that struggle has already taken a toll on you for many years. However, if you start small, are consistent and build, your faith will increase, your sorrow will lift and your joy will return even if you aren’t happy about your circumstances.
In the midst of despair, sadness and being overwhelmed with struggle, we may find it difficult to just pick ourselves up by our Christian bootstraps and just “be happy.” However, these little things have helped me get just one step closer to being thankful and have reminded me that God is there with me and He’s working on my behalf even if I can’t feel Him through all that life throws at me. I pray they are blessings to you and you can begin to see how you can be thankful and praise God during your struggles as well.
So, do you remember a time when you had a near miss car accident? A “lucky event” when things could have been so much worse? Was there a time in your life when things went very well and you didn’t think about how incredible they were and remember to thank God for these “coincidences” that brought them to you? I sure do!
When we lived in Southern California, we used to drive six hours to visit my folks in ARIDzona. On one such trip out, we noticed that our brakes started squeaking. By the time we arrived, they were squeaking kind of loudly, but all the men in the family (with a collective 100 yrs of automotive experience) thought we were safe to drive home and have it taken care of after that weekend. Well, they were all wrong!
We were driving back on a holiday weekend when traffic was horrendous! It was stop and go (mostly stop) all the way and took us several hours longer than it usually did. Halfway or so in, the brakes were soooo loud, but they felt fine and so we just kept going. At night, what much else was there to do? With each time my husband hit the brakes, the sound got louder, the brakes got touchier, and we got more frightened with our young kids in the back of the car. As we pulled into the driveway of our home, the brakes finally gave out as we coasted into our garage in total safety.
There are many such stories I could recount to you of horrifying things that never happened because God had His hand upon us. But there are countless other times I may never even noticed when God sent us on a small journey so as to avoid a major traffic wreck or some other such horrific event we never even heard about much less reflected upon.
My point is, not only should we be grateful to the Lord for glaringly obvious mishaps we were spared, but also for all the little coincidences orchestrated by Him in order to so completely avoid tragedy that we never even knew it.
What can you think of that could have been worse, but for the grace of God was not?