How to be Thankful During Hard Times

Inside: Being thankful during hard times isn’t a natural response. It should be! Here are 3 things you can do to help you be grateful for life’s trials.

The interrupted sleep, the sudden grip of fear that would grab my heart and jolt me awake. All an unfortunately common occurrence. Rest was a distant memory during those hard times.

Fear and worry would keep me up all night. Unable to find peace, I would grab my bible and start to read.

Those quiet moments in the middle of the night found me desperately searching for Bible verses about making it through trials. I learned early on in my journey that if I could turn my thoughts from fear and anxiety to gratefulness, I’d be able to drift back to sleep.

Some nights one verse was enough for my mind to find peace and for my body to relax. Other nights I battled my thoughts for hours. Lack of sleep quickly robbed me of my joy. It left me grumpy and short-tempered the following day and it would make my depression worse.

Scripture is a great way to find joy in broken circumstances. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is look up Bible verses about being grateful in hard times.

Instead of waiting for insomnia to pay a visit I learned to write verses on index cards or in a journal as I found them.

Bible Verses About Being Thankful During Hard Times

I didn’t want to believe it. I sat in my closet reading my Bible one night those words were like a slap in the face.

There in black and white were words that I wanted to unsee:

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Lord do you really want me to be thankful during this trial?

Being thankful during hard times didn’t sound exciting. It was confusing. Saying thank you for pain and heartache. Being thankful for betrayal. That was the last thing I wanted to do.

The more I read, the more I realized that God was really serious about this whole being thankful thing. So I started to try it out. When someone hurt my feelings I would thank God for the self-control not to attack them with my words. It was hard at first, but over time, being thankful during hard times has gotten easier.

Here are some verses to get you started:

Colossians 3:15-17: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)

Philippians 4:6: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT)

Psalm 106:1: Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)

Psalm 100:4: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (NIV)

Psalm 116:17: I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. (ESV)

Psalm 28:7: The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (NLT)

Reading these verses is a great way to start changing your heart and mind when it comes to being thankful during your trials. To get quiet before the Lord to hear what He is whispering to the wounds of your soul.

3 Ways to Practice Being Thankful During Hard Times

I had a hard time finding things to be thankful for. I would look around me and see heartache and chaos and just not see anything to be grateful for. It took some time but I realized that I was looking in the wrong place.

Often, if we are going through a trial, the place to look when we want to be thankful is not at ourselves and our circumstances. Focusing on yourself and your problems is a sure way to remain ungrateful, angry, and bitter.

Instead here are 3 ways that I want to encourage you to practice being thankful in hard times:

#1 Remember that God is in control

I live for a plan. When things are out of my control I feel confused and anxious. It is very hard for me to learn to let things go, but when I do, I often find peace. That peace comes from knowing God’s in control, even when I have no idea what’s going on.

We never go through these hard times alone; God is always there! He knows what you are going through and He knows how He is going to bring you out.
Take a few minutes each day to thank God for having your best interest at heart, for having a plan to bless you, and for loving you enough to walk through the fire with you.

#2 Offer forgiveness

I can hold a grudge like my life depends on it. I don’t like to forgive people, especially when they have hurt me. It isn’t fair and I often feel like I’m letting them off the hook.

Forgiving, especially when it’s hard, is a great way to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Every time I don’t want to forgive, I think about how God has forgiven me of so many sins in the past. When I reflect on that I can’t help but feel thankful for the grace that I have been given. And when I realize the importance of that it becomes easier for me to forgive others.

#3 Keep your joy

Keeping your focus on God helps you learn to let go of bitterness and unforgiveness. Be sure to take time to hold on to your joy. When the hard times beat down on us, Satan often uses those moments to steal our joy.

Don’t let him!

I have learned over the years that I can find joy in any circumstance if I have the right focus. When I keep my eyes on God I am not overwhelmed by my hurts and pain.

I can get up each day and be thankful that I don’t have to try and figure things out for myself. I no longer have trouble falling asleep. And best of all I’ve learned to embrace the words that slapped me in the face a few months ago.

Looking for a community of like-minded Christian women who are growing closer to God during hard times?

Hope for the Weary Christian Woman