To have a heart of thanks is to have a heart of praise. It is easy to thank God for times of health and prosperity but it is not so easy to thank God for our times of struggles, storms, and adversity. However, we are called to give thanks in ALL circumstances. This is so hard to remember to do.

I’ll never say that God won’t design, plan, orchestrate or even send a challenge our way. After all, we have to build up our spiritual muscles some how and what’s wrong with a little exercise? A challenge from God will often come in the form of a test of faith.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Needless to say, the Devil will stick his nose in the situation and try to discourage you. So, put your earplugs in and put on your spiritual armor. The Helmet of Salvation will keep your mind clear of all confusion. By cinching up your Belt of Truth you’ll cast down all his miserable lies.

The fruit produced from the testings of God is well worth the temporary discomfort you must endure. Perseverance is needed to finish the race set before you in this life. Nobody likes to eat unripe fruit and with every struggle you face, with God by your side, the fruit of the Spirit becomes more powerful and sweet to the taste.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

How rewarding it will be when you discover that the goodness and kindness of Christ has grown within you as you bravely faced the trial directly in your path! You’ll recognize that gentleness and compassion has deepened within your heart and your love for Christ and others has matured through your sanctification process. The Holy Spirit working within you can be the only explanation for the maturity of your greater capacity to love. Oh what joy there is in realizing spiritual growth!

It takes patience and self-control to trudge through difficult times and sorrows, but the peace of Christ will always meet you in your times of need. All you have to do is petition God in prayer. A peace that transcends all understanding is available for every child of God. It is never withheld from any of us. This peace comes if we submit to our challenge and God’s will, trusting Him to equip us to overcome every obstacle.

I encourage you to train your eyes to see the goodness of God, trusting that everything you face has God’s stamp of approval. Just as Satan had to get permission in the throne room to test Job, the Devil must also get permission to buffet you. God did not look to destroy Job and He does not intend to test you beyond your ability to weather your storm.

Have faith in God’s intentions and purpose. Decide now to praise Him in the midst of your pain. This sacrifice of praise will give your heavenly Father much joy and cause the enemy much discomfort. It will also serve as a quiet witness to the miraculous power of God for those all around you. Be brave and courageous. Be of a stout heart. Praise the name of Jesus in ALL circumstances because He is worthy of ALL our praise.

“Therefor by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)