In everything, give thanks, said Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 5.
I read these words in the middle of a several week stretch of beginning my devotions by writing things down that I’m thankful for.
I had just written things like, thank you for the sunshine, thank you for my home, thank you for my husband, thank you for our kids, thank you for my friends, thank you for my work…
And then I paused and said outloud, “In EVERY THING, give thanks.”
I have heard it said that no matter how hard your life is, there is always, always, always something to be grateful for. But sometimes, wringing out a dry and painful season of life, it’s hard. It’s hard to say thank you when life gives you gifts you didn’t want to unwrap.
But I’m learning to wholeheartedly believe this concept: That there is always something to be grateful for, even the pain itself.
Listen, I’m no Pollyanna. I don’t think everything can just have a bright red gratitude bow slapped on it and it makes things all better. However, I found myself writing, thank you for this waiting season...thank you that you have changed me through it, that you have grown me up a bit…thank you for what you’re teaching us…
Then I paused again. And I wrote, thank you that even though I do not know how to figure this thing out, YOU DO.
As we move into Thanksgiving, I encourage you to join me in this transformational thought: I am thankful for my pain.
Because something beautiful happens in ugly seasons of hurt that doesn’t occur in safer, saner, quieter, happier times.
It’s in the wounded moments that we choose to move toward the healing nature of Jesus. It’s during our brokenness that we find our hearts softer to the needs of others because we resonate. And those things are gifts. Deep, deep gifts. That only those who are enduring pain have access to.
Pain can injure. It can take us out at the knees and out of the game. But if we will start to thank God for our troubles, he can transform them. Our hurt can heal others. The breakthrough of our darkness can bring light to someone else who is lost. The comfort we receive can become the comfort we hand out to others.
You cannot tell me that you are not more of something good than you were before your painful season. You are more than likely wiser, stronger, softer, more empathetic, more vulnerable, gentler, more something good, less anything not-so-good. Your pain has and will bring forth beauty in you, if you let it.
With this new perspective, this Thanksgiving we can add to our gratitude lists, I am thankful for my pain, and we can mean it.
In everything, give thanks. -I Thessalonians 5:18