Just before Thanksgiving, I was visiting with a dear friend over coffee. Our conversation naturally went to the things that we’re thankful for. Both of us have been through trials in our lives and can look back and say in hindsight, “I’m thankful for that because now I can see how God has used that trial to accomplish great things in my life and through me.” But then my friend asked THAT question:
“Can you be thankful now for the trial you’re currently going through?”
Cancel that pat on the back I was giving myself. Wow! You mean, not wait to see how it all turns out? You mean, thank God even though this is hard? Like now?
The difficulties and uncertainty we experience at work can steal our joy and peace. It can cause stress. Unfortunately, that only clouds our thinking and makes the situation worse. Not to mention the fact that worry, anxiety and fear cause us to turn away from God in our work instead of to the only One who has the power to do all things.
How can we say we trust Him if we only give thanks after He’s delivered us through the stressful circumstances, from the difficult people, from our fears and insecurity?
The apostle Paul had reasons to be stressed. He went from being a man of great status, to what he referred to as a “slave for Christ.” It was a career transition that came with great rewards, but also great peril. Paul was persecuted, criticized, imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked and stoned nearly to death. Yet from prison he wrote,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7
Will you join me in giving thanks for our trials? Proverbs 3:5-6 says ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’
When you thank God under all circumstances, at work or in your personal life, and trust God by seeking His guidance and submitting to His will, not only will you be able to hold onto your joy and your peace, I have no doubt you’ll witness miracles at work!
Catherine Gates, Director, Workmatters Studies