Why Should We Be Grateful In Affliction?

Why does it matter if we are thankful if being grateful for our circumstances doesn’t change anything? Karlton shares how it just may.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:14)

If you are alive today you have a reason to be thankful and grateful. Years ago, shortly after I had a major operation, I was angry and complaining about something; my wife rebuked me and told me I should be grateful I was alive and for everything I had. She was right.

Sometimes when we are bearing the weight of affliction we can become so insular in our thinking that we fail to cultivate gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation for what we have. If we are not careful, we can become–and be seen–as “takers” who have no regard for anyone or anything except ourselves.

I have tried very hard to stay mindful of my blessings, and to appreciate doctors and nurses, family members and friends, even complete strangers, who have shown me kindness. It costs nothing and can mean everything to simply say: “Thank you!”

Even when I was too weak to move, even when I was in terrible pain, I said “Thank you” to those who were helping me. I have made it a habit. I truly am grateful for any and all the help I have received and I hope you are as well.

It may seem counter-intuitive to be thankful, to stay grateful, when in the throes of affliction. Pain and misery draws us inward, and can make us oblivious to those around us and the kindness directed our way.

We can take for granted the compassion and help of the “givers” and be seen as ungrateful “takers.” I don’t know about you, but no matter how miserable I feel, I want people to know that I love and appreciate them, and that I am very grateful.

I want God to know I don’t take His blessings for granted, that I am thankful and grateful for every kindness and blessing He sends my way.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive us our ingratitude, and help us to cultivate a habit of thankfulness. Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. His hope is that there are more ‘thanks’ than ‘complaints’ on his lips.

Have you thanked anyone today? Why not begin by thanking the Lord.

Oftentimes if feels like there is no point to the afflictions we are coping with. If we could find the purpose, it may be easier yo deal with. God doesn’t always provide us with reasons but we can trust that God does have a reason and that no suffering we experience is wasted. I hope this son by Jason Gray touches you, “Nothing is Wasted.”

photo credit: J.G. in S.F. via photopin cc

7 Responses to Why Should We Be Grateful In Affliction?

  1. Karlton, I appreciate what you have shared.

    It reminds me of the exhortation that we are given by Paul in that we are learning to be content in all circumstances.

    One way we can manifest that we are learning, is to be grateful to those who are walking with us. . .the ones you have cited here in your devotional. God is often using them to be His hands, voice, help, and love. How we respond to them says a lot about how we respond to HIm – how it is best to respond to Him.

    Thanks for the reminders.

  2. I remeber CLEARLY-when I was in the Spirit, telling a girlfriend who asked how I was doing, that it was “not my business what God chose to do with my body”. I sometimes wonder how I managed to fall from that place, back into my fleshly self! I truly believe that, even today, though I say it without the strength of conviction I had back then…I CHOOSE to continue to believe that, even though I’ve backslidden, even though I’ve failed Him in SO many ways since that time, even though I’m WEARY of fighting a ‘dis-ease’ unseen, unexplained, and often ‘unbelieved in’ by many Drs. It doesn’t matter what they believe, or don’t believe in! I’ve learned to believe in and try to play my lifesong to an audience of ONE. HE is the only One whom I should care about how I’m thought of, and the only One I aim to please now. Thanks for the post…to be content in all circumstances is to know that as long as we’re ALIVE and still here, is that He STILL has a purpose for our lives here-and for that, I can be truly grateful!♥

  3. Thanks Lynn! I appreciate your thoughts.

  4. That is well said Teresa. I think we all move in and out of times when we are stronger/weaker, philosophical/discouraged, faithful/fearful all because we are human and our condition affects us in so many ways.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Amen & amen!! Thanks Karlton for the great reminder….your devotionals are always thought provoking & “spot on!” :-)

    Your words are so very true: “be grateful I was alive and for everything I had.” It’s easy to forget to thank those around us & sadly I forget to thank those closest to me, at times.

    Just tonight in our prayers, hubby & I were thanking God for the luxury of: a home, safe country, warm beds (it’s winter here), warm fire, full bellies, running water etc etc. We’ve been having a really tough time, but it was a good reminder for us, as we prayed. People all over the world need our prayers, as they are destitute, starving & in danger. It sure turned around our perspective! God bless. Lotsoluv Kerryn

  6. Thank you Kerryn :-)

  7. Wow this song was given to me before bc i was wondering alot of WHYs and there were some unfair things and i figured well im just a casuality and then i came upon this song it reminds me yes ppl fail but God will use even bad stuff for His glory its hard when yourcin it bc you are all resentful andcyou dont get it or understand why. God isnt telling you everything and your like okay you must just hate me. But ima try to stay thankful and not get all selfish

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