“Okay, I get how we’re supposed to be thankful for all these other things.” When we look at the list, it’s easy to see how we can be thankful for all these things:
1 – Family
2 – Food
3 – Provision (A job, a car, ways to get food, etc.)
4 – A place to live (A house, an apartment, etc.)
5 – Friends
6 – Coffee (The little things)
7 – Today
8 – Your Senses (Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting & smelling)
9 – Technology
10 – Abundance (Generosity)
11 – Freedom (Thanks a Veteran)
12 – Sunrises and Sunsets
13 – Music & Art
14 – Shoes & Clothes
15 – Safety & Security
16 – Laughter
17 – 2nd Chances
But, now today, we’re stretching a little bit. We’re stretching to give thanks for something that no one in their right mind would want to give thanks for. But, I want us all to know today that we should be thankful for the suffering we go through. Why?
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
We should be thankful because the suffering we go through produces things in us. When we suffer it creates a better version of us – we become more like God wants us to be. We should be thankful for the trials we go through because we are being transformed.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory. We rejoice in our suffering because they produce more of His image in us and less of the image of this messed up world.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul understood that it was in his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties that Christ’s power was revealed and made strong. It was while Paul was going through suffering that Christ’s glory was able to shine the brightest.
Because, when we are at our weakest, God is at His strongest. When we are at our weakest, it’s harder for us to take the glory and praise for ourselves. When we’re weak, we have nothing to boast about. We can’t boast because we’re suffering. But when God does something during that suffering – Christ’s glory is revealed. When I am weak, then I am strong.
So, today, hope you will be thankful for the suffering you have gone through, are going through or will go through. I hope we will all be thankful for the suffering, because the suffering is a part of the process. Suffering is refining. Suffering is God chiseling away the world from us to reveal His image in us.
The suffering you have gone through has shaped you into who you are today. The suffering you will go through will shape you more and more into who God wants you to be. That’s something to be thankful for.