Praising God in hard times

I am convinced that praising God is not only right – it brings great benefit to me as a believer.

But is it right to thank God for the bad things of life – the deaths of loved ones or crippling accidents or lost jobs?  I say “Yes” even though I know many Christians feel this is almost blasphemous.

In the end, this comes down to a question about God’s sovereignty: Is he in control of what goes on in the world?  Or is his power limited?

People, who oppose this view of praising and thanking God for the hard things of life, declare that God is not responsible for evil.  I agree with that.  Satan is behind evil.

But there are passages of Scripture which show that God can use evil for his own purposes – and those purposes are good (Romans 8:28).

One of the best examples is Joseph’s reaction when he was reunited with his brothers who had sold him into slavery.  He told them not to be distressed because “it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:5)

No doubt Joseph was angry and bitter toward his brothers when he first went into slavery and later into prison.  But he learned to trust God.  He believed God was in control of these evil circumstances and was working things out for good.

When we’re going through troubles, it is not always obvious what good will come out of them.  But we do not see with God’s eyes.  Someone may be watching how we deal with trouble and may be touched by our attitude of trust.

Jesus and the apostles warned that we would face difficult times in life.  But they did not complain against God because they knew God is sovereign and is working things out according to his purposes. They understood that God’s purposes were good.

Paul urged us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and “always (give) thanks to God the Father for everything” (Ephesians 5:20).

“For everything” includes everything – good or bad.

It’s hard to praise God and thank him for the hard stuff.  But I have resolved to do exactly that.

I have long found that praising God for himself and for the good things in life have lifted my spirits.

Now, I am working on thanking him for allowing bad things to happen in my life.  I want to stop being a complainer and start trusting that he is working things out for good in the painful areas of life.

From what I have read, such an attitude has transformed lives and released people from bitterness and anger.  I want God to change me, too.

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