The season for gratitude and thanksgiving has arrived. It’s a wonderful time of year—especially when things are going well. But when times are hard, it’s much tougher to muster a joyous spirit.
My heart is heavy for a number of friends who are weathering tough times. I know of one in another state who will probably be alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas. At a time when so much revolves around family and friends, that can’t be easy.
Other friends are strained financially. The dollars coming in just aren’t enough to cover expenses. Some have gone months without finding a job, despite sending out dozens of resumes. Health issues have dogged others as well as dealing with death, broken marriages or troubled children.
How to find a spirit of gratitude when life is hard? Here’s what God has taught me through my own difficult times:
1) Search for bright spots.
Even when things are bad, there was always something to thank Him for, no matter how small.
2) Help others.
Caring about others and reaching out to them has always helped put my own problems in perspective.
3) Immerse yourself in His Word.
The God who loves us so much that He gave His life for us has tucked hundreds of sweet and precious promises in our Bibles. And somehow, whenever I really need one, He puts His spotlight of grace on it and highlights it for me.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But during one of the darkest times that my husband and I ever walked through, we put some praise and worship music on and sat at our dining room table and sang. I still tear up when I think about how God used those moments to comfort my husband’s heart.
There’s something about spending time with Him that provides peace during life’s storms.
6) Praise Him no matter what.
It’s hard to fathom in the middle of a tough time what the best outcome may be. So thank God in advance for what He’s going to do. It will be for the good of all.
God says it best in Psalm 50:15: Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.