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  • Heidi J. Smith

Giving Thanks When Life Doesn't Make Sense


"Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you IN Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV


Photo credit to Simon Maage from Unsplash

November focused on thankfulness.


Being thankful is easy when life is sweet, but when life stinks, it is hard.


I struggle with being thankful during hard times. How can I be thankful in ALL circumstances? Isn't the loss of a loved one too much, or the pain of a broken relationship too deep? Maybe situation XYZ is hopeless and unfair?


How can we be thankful when life doesn't make sense?


In the Bible, Paul and Silas cast a demon out of a slave girl and made her owners mad. The owners grabbed Paul and Silas, beat them, and threw them in prison.


Inside the dark damp cell, Paul and Silas sang and prayed TO GOD rather than complained of their bruises and chains (Acts 16:16-25).


Paul and Silas gave thanks by focusing ON GOD rather than their circumstances.


  • God is ETERNAL while situations will END.

  • God provides HOPE when situations seem HOPELESS.

  • God provides STRENGTH while situations zap our STRENGTH.

  • God promises His PRESENCE while we feel ALONE in the pain.

When life stinks, we must choose to hope IN GOD, not ourselves, others, or our situations. Sounds simple, but choosing to keep our eyes ON GOD is challenging.

Usually I try to fix the problem MYSELF rather than rely on God. My fears flair up and whisper doubts. As the hard times continue, I grow discouraged and weary. My gratitude turns to grumbling because my hope rests in myself not God.


Sometimes I expect OTHERS to solve the difficult situation. When they fail to meet my expectation, I again become disappointed and complain.


But God never disappoints. He uses our DISAPPOINTS as APPOINTMENTS with Him. He desires our burdens and knows the results.


How can we be thankful when life doesn't make sense?


We look TO GOD not our disappoints.


We hope IN GOD by meditating on His promises, counting our blessings, continually praying about our problems, and focusing on eternity.

As we look TO GOD, joy will fill our hearts and gratitude will flow from our lips.


"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope IN GOD, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Psalm 42:11 NIV


Paul and Silas's gratitude resulted in the salvation of the jailer and his family.

Our hard times can result in thanksgivings as we hope IN GOD.


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Heidi J. Smith