November. A month of being thankful. We in America take this time of the year to think about our blessings and are thankful for what we have and the people we have around us.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” “in everything give thanks”…This seems really easy, especially when things are going well. We are happy as long as things are going our way. What happens when things don’t go our way? Are we still thankful?
James 1:2-3 says to, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
Are we thankful when trials come our way? If we’re honest with ourselves, we would have to say probably not. Trials aren’t fun; if they were, they wouldn’t be trials.
There was a story that I once heard in a Sunday School class I went to. It was about a boy who wanted to be a missionary. He told his parents what he wanted to do, but they didn’t think he was ready for that type of life. You see, he was a very sickly little boy and he was very weak. So one day, his parents told him to go push the boulder that was sitting in their front yard. It was a huge boulder, but He did. They told him to push it the next day. He did. This went on for days and days which led into years and years. Finally, he was fed up with pushing on that boulder. He went in to tell his parents that he wasn’t going to do it anymore and that he didn’t know what pushing on that boulder had to do with becoming a missionary. They asked him, “When was the last time you got sick?” “It’s been years,” he answered. “How strong are you?” “Very strong!” he answered. They said, “You are now ready to become a missionary. You have been pushing on that boulder for years. That has made you strong and well. Sometimes God has you do something that doesn’t make since at the time. When you first wanted to be a missionary, you weren’t physically ready. Now you are.”
Now, I know that there is more that strength that goes into becoming a missionary, but you get the point, right? Sometimes we go through things in our lives that just don’t make since. God just might be allowing you to go through a trial for a reason. I try to think about this when I’m going through something hard. I try to think, “Is God trying to help me with something or am I going to be able to help someone else through something later?”
I stutter when I talk. I can control it better now, but when I was a kid, it was horrible. It felt like I couldn’t speak clearly at all. It was horrible as a young child in class and I would stutter anytime I would have to say an answer. The worst, was the first day of school and the teacher would make you stand up in front of the class and say your name. I would always stutter on my name! Later in life, I became a teacher. Every year I taught, I would have a child who stuttered in my class. I was able to sympathize with them as well as help their parents deal with the stuttering because I had gone through it myself. What a blessing from God to be able to help others because of a trial that I had gone through.
So the next time you are going through a trial, be thankful. God is trying to help you to become the person He wants you to be!
For more encouragement in your ministry, don’t miss these other free resources from our website:
- Why Are You Thankful?
- Bible Lesson: A Thankful Heart Willingly Gives
- Thanksgiving Craft: How to Make a Thankful Poster
- Christmas Devotional: A Time of Giving or Receiving?
- Top 10 Devotional Blogs for Kids Ministers