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  • Writer's pictureElias Paulino

Thanks Giving in Challenging Moments

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

The Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us and what a wonderful time to be reminded of the importance of giving thanks—"for this is God's will for us."(1) Why is thanks giving so vital in life? Why is it that part of God's will is for us to be grateful and thankful at ALL times? Most importantly, how and why should we express gratitude towards God for the trials, challenges and difficulties in our lives? It's not a mystery that people tend to give thanks when things go their way. Some of us, even when things are good we forget to express gratitude. Imagine now, God asking you to be thankful when you face a crisis or an unexpected difficulty in your life? How can you experience joy and peace in your thanks giving when you are facing something that could be very painful and/or unfair? Let me share with you two significant experiences that led me to a deeper discovery of being thankful during challenging moments.

I. Personal Story

In the beginning of this year—in January to be precise—my unhealthy eating habits caught up to me affecting my digestive system. I visited the doctor and was recommended to eat high-fiber foods in order to provide the proper nutrients to my body. I tried changing the foods I eat but I did not fully commit and so by August the symptoms started the reappear. This led to having to go through what was supposed to be a painless medical procedure that resulted in a complication after I got home from the doctor's office. The day following the procedure, the symptoms multiplied and worsen to higher levels of pain and discomfort. In my logical thinking mind, I couldn't understand how I was getting worse if I went for a "painless" procedure. How was it that I was in so much pain after being cured? In my pain and agony, I went to my Source and in a very demanding way asked Him why he was allowing this to happened to me. I was inquiring why God was allowing me to go through pain and suffering, and even sickness in my body, all while He was just there watching without any supernatural intervention. I remember that there was this particular day—I think it was the third day after my surgery—that I woke up around 4am because I was in so much pain, and I simply picked up my Bible and asked God to show me in His Word why I was going through this and why He was allowing it. I like and enjoy reading my Bible, but I think this was the actual first time that I had asked for proof or evidence from the Bible and God literally giving me the answer IMMEDIATELY. After I finished praying, I opened my Bible and it landed on the book of Job on chapter 38—which is titled "The Lord Speaks" by the way—and this was the Word I received from my Heavenly Father:

Job 38:1-2 (NIV)

"Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 'Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?'"

These two simple verses spoke so much volume to me that morning. The first thing I noticed was that "the Lord spoke out of the storm." I think this statement of truth truly solidified my belief that God uses life's circumstances to speak to us. Whatever storm you might be facing right now, can you hear what God is telling you from it? Can you hear God's voice speaking to you from this painful moment and experience? The second and the truth that really ministered and touched my heart was the second verse. When I read that verse something struck my heart, and I read it over and over and over again. It was my first ever reading this Scripture and I just couldn't believe how plain, simple and profound this was. To give you a bit of background Job was attacked with a terrible and terminal disease and all his children were killed, and this all happened in the same day! As human beings with a logic and emotions, just like me—and like you probably—Job started to question God why all these things were happening to him. That's when God answered him and said, "Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?" Another translation say, "Why do you talk so much when you know so little?"

This passage made me understand and realized that God has a plan even for the painful moments in our life. God does not create the difficult moments in our life, but He does allows it. Why? Because He has a plan and a purpose for every moment in our life. I learned and discovered that when we complain about what we are going through we become an obstacle to the plan that God has for us through that situation. We literally obscure God's plans when we complain! That's what God told Job and me! I believe this is the reason why many of us don't see the advantage that comes from a difficult or unpleasant situation. If you take the victim mentality over everything you face, you will never see the victory that God planned for you. Our negative and complaining attitude is our greatest obstacle to seeing God's victory. If we do not change our attitudes and our perspective about the painful experiences in our life, nothing in our life will change. In the great words of Wayne Dyer, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

II. Empowering Podcast

Very recently I listened to a podcast from "The School of Greatness" YouTube channel where Rhonda Byrne was interviewed, and that episode added more value to the understanding of the power of expressing thanksgiving for the difficult things or moments in life. Here's what stood to me from the podcast:

Lewis Howes: "In a quote card you say, 'Everything is always on track. Always! No matter where you are in your life currently and no matter how difficult things might appear to be in this moment, you are always being moved toward magnificence.' Why are we moved toward magnificence even when we are in breakdown, stress and in suffering? How are we on track when we are in that moment?" Rhonda Byrne: "Everything is unfolding perfectly. It really and truly is that everything it's [always] unfolding perfectly."

Lewis Howes: "How can people be grateful when they are going through a terrible disease, lost of a loved one, or maybe there's a war going on in their life or in their country? How can we empower people to be grateful for their challenges when there's so much pain and suffering in their lives?"

Rhonda Byrne: "Because being grateful is what would change their life. Being grateful is the fastest way to change your life. Be grateful for your challenges, all of the hard things and apparently negative things that happens to us [because they] give us deep desire to change our lives. Be grateful for them because they have given you the strength and determination to manifest something different and you will change your life."

Lewis Howes: "What happens in our lives when we [are ungrateful] and lack gratitude?"

Rhonda Byrne: "We take things for granted, which means things will be taken away from us. Gratitude will hold everything you are grateful for in your life."

The answers to these questions about pain and gratitude truly came from the vault of God's wisdom. Each answer marked my heart and helped truly understand the magnificence of gratitude. I always struggled to express gratitude during the tough moments in my life. I lacked the revelation of what was gratitude and why its so important to our unfolding. After hearing God and experiencing comfort in the midst of pain in my own life, it brought me the understanding to practice thanks giving at all times and in all circumstances.

So, why should we be grateful and thankful for the negative situations and hardships in our lives?

Because those moments will lead us to the development of our purpose and to the fulfillment of our destiny. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”(2) Everything is always unfolding perfectly! The heart of gratitude comes from the mental and emotional understanding that everything is unfolding perfectly according to God's perfect and good will. It's this truth, it's this understanding that life is happening for us, what makes us be grateful at all times. You will never question God's will if you know God's plans; the kicker though is that not every plan of God is immediately known to us. God will allow the circumstances without giving you any explanation or revelation of His plans. But just because we do not fully understand Him, it doesn't mean that we cannot trust Him. You can always trust God even if you cannot trace God.

Challenges are nothing more but a redirection or a repositioning of purpose and destiny. Moments of pain WILL redirect you and reposition you to God's purpose and destiny for your life. That's the reason why we must be grateful for all the negative and painful moments in life because we are simply being redirected. We are always being moved towards purpose. Everything that God has allowed, is allowing and will allow to take place in your life, is ALWAYS to move you closer to your purpose and destiny. I will finish with Job's response to God when He gave him the understanding of His plans and purpose:

Job 42:1-2 (NIV)

"Then Job replied to the Lord and said: 'I know that You can do all things, [and that] no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.'"

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving 2023!



(1) 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

(2) Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

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Nov 28, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

This blog is fire!


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