Summary: It’s easy to thank God when everything is going good. It’s not so easy to thank God when everything is going wrong. During these times it’s hard to be thankful. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that we are to be thankful for even the bad times.
Thank Him for the Bad Times
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (5:18)
We always find that is easy to thank God when everything is going good. It is not so easy to thank God when everything appears to be going wrong. During these adverse times it is hard to be thankful. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that we are to be thankful for even the bad times we may go through. There are some good reasons why we should be thanking Him for the bad times.
I. God may be using adversity to get our attention
A. In Acts 9 we read of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the apostle Paul, who was proud and egotistical, seeking to rid the world of Christians. God had to get Saul’s attention. To do so God struck Saul blind with a bright light. Lying on the Damascus Road, Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord? and “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do”. (Acts 9:5-6)
B. Is God the number one priority in your life? Is He truly First? If not He will bring you down to make you look up.
C. Daniel 4:31-34 “The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that lives forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.”
D. We can safely assume that every time we are going through a major trial, God is trying to get our attention in some fashion.
E. Suffering is a tool God uses frequently to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. When we go through trials we are forced to turn from trusting in our own resources to looking to God for deliverance. Adversity prompts us to turn to God and cry out to Him when we don’t see light at the end of the tunnel.
F. Psalm 121:1-2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
II. God may be using adversity to draw us nearer to Him
A. Have you ever heard of a berkutchi? A berkutchi is an Asian man who trains eagles for hunting. The capture, taming, training, and keeping of eagles is highly ritualized. Most eagles, which have a life span of about 40 years, are caught when very young—either snatched from a nest or trapped in a baited net. Once captured, the eagle is hooded and placed in a cage with a perch that sways constantly so it cannot rest or sleep. For two or three days it is also deprived of food. During this time the berkutchi talks, sings, and chants to the eagle for hours on end. Finally, he begins to feed and stroke it. Slowly the weakened creature comes to rely on its master. When the berkutchi decides that their relationship has become strong enough, the training begins. Not all eagles can be trained, but those who take to life with a master display intense loyalty. While the training and breaking of the eagle may seem harsh, it is a picture of how over time God breaks our independent spirit to draw us close to Him. - Keith R. Krell, Stephen Kinzer, “A Hunter Whose Weapon Is Also His Friend,” New York Times (11/4/99).