Whenever God allows suffering into our lives it’s because he has something better for us. Of course, we don’t want to go through trials! But even in the midst of bad, painful circumstances when can choose to be thankful. Why? Because God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Thanksgiving is an especially good time to practice being grateful to God, not just for our obvious physical blessings, but also for his eternal spiritual blessings, which we can enjoy no matter what hard times we’re experiencing.
Jeanne Guyon’s Thankfulness in Trials
The Frenchwoman Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) shows us what it looks like to be grateful to God in painful trials. Even in chronic disappointments and painful suffering she was thankful to God and a blessing to others. She learned that the heavenly realms are not far away! She learned to live her daily life in the spiritual reality where “the Lord is my refuge” so when trials came upon her she wasn’t sent adrift on the stormy waves but had an anchor to hold her safely in the harbor of Love.
In an unhappy marriage Guyon found happiness in Christ.
Widowed at age 28, she pursued and even deeper love relationship with Jesus and shared this with others in Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ which went onto to become one of the best-selling books in history! (You can read my inspiring excerpt from this classic here.)
Condemned by the Church as a heretic and confined in an awful dungeon for four years she flew away in spirit to God. Despite horrible persecutions she would not renounce her message that anyone, without the help of a priest, could read Scripture and pray quietly in their heart to experience a deep and satisfying relationship with Jesus Christ. While confined in her prison, her spirit soared in grateful songs of love to the Lord, like this one:
A Little Bird I Am
A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air;
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleases Thee.
Nought have I else to do;
I sing the whole day long;
And He whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song;
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
But still he bends to hear me sing.
Thou hast an ear to hear;
A heart to love and bless;
And, though my notes were e’er so rude,
Thou wouldst not hear them less:
Because Thou knowest, as they fall,
That LOVE, sweet LOVE, inspires them all.
My cage confines me round;
Abroad I cannot fly;
But though my wing is closely bound,
My heart’s at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.
Oh! It’s good to soar
These bolds and bars above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose providence I love;
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.
Thanks and Praise to God
Maybe you feel caged in a difficult circumstance or suffering from a loss or pain that you wish you could be free of? Tell God how you’re feeling and ask him to release you. Then, while you wait for God’s deliverance, give thanks and praise to the Lord for his goodness and beauty and your soul will take flight with him into the heavens!
Here are some Bible Verses on Thankfulness that we like to share with family and friends around our Thanksgiving table.