How Can We Give Thanks for Bad Things?

Dear Parson,

QUESTION:  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says, "In every thing give thanks..." How can you give thanks when truly bad things happen to you?

ANSWER: Though it seems hard, it doesn't have to be. It is a matter of FAITH in the good character and promises of our sovereign God. He tells us to trust in Him with all our hearts and to lean not to our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). My son, Jack, preaches a message in which he has teens eat each raw ingredient in chocolate chip cookies. Some ingredients though necessary, are rather gross--such as raw eggs, flour and baking soda, but the finished product tastes very god.

     Paul and Silas rejoiced over being falsely accused, beaten and imprisoned (Acts 16:19-25). However, God later used that to bring people to Christ, start a strong church, provide a great example, strengthen faith and store up for them treasure in heaven.

     Job lost about everything dear to him yet in faith he responded, "The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord." As a result, God eventually gave him twice what he had before, and is still, over three thousand years later, using his testimony to strengthen millions.

     When bad things happen to you, go ahead in faith and give thanks. God will show you the good He planned to bring through it later. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."

James Bachman