Thanksgiving has come and gone. All that remains are the leftovers sitting in the fridge (and the added weight from all the desserts). I am sure that many of you spent time reflecting over the weekend about what you are thankful for.
My list is extensive. I am thankful for my amazing family. I am thankful for my wife who constantly supports and encourages me. I am thankful for our beautiful Son – a proof that God does do miracles! And, I am particularly grateful for all of the hard seasons in my life that have led me to where I am.
That last statement might sound absurd to some. Why on earth would I be thankful for hardships? Simply put, they have developed my faith and strengthened my resolve allowing me to constantly focus on the fact that God is in control – my life, after all, is His story, not mine.
This concept of rejoicing in our sufferings is one that was all too familiar to the apostles. I have read the book of Acts countless times, and somehow I always breeze past the verses like that of Acts 5:41 “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
This was not their first time being arrested and threatened. A chapter earlier, Peter and John were arrested and released being strictly forbidden to ever speak the name of Jesus. Most people would either take heed the stern warning and follow instructions or flee from this persecution and go elsewhere. They however, pray for boldness and go about their mission. Shortly after, they are back in the temple preaching and subsequently were arrested again – although freed by an Angel in the night, they were again back in the temple teaching the next morning. They were a persistent group of people!
Acts 5 tells us of their trial and how at the conclusion they were beaten, threatened and released. We read in Acts 5:41-42
So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ
Persecution did not immobilize the apostles – it fueled them. Their version of a “bad day” was one that I hope many of us never have to endure – yet they chose to rejoice amidst their suffering. They chose Jesus over self-pity, they chose the greater story over their own story.
The realization of what Jesus has done for you should change not just your perception but your behavior. You walk away from troubles unscathed and motivated to turn any issues into testimonies for Him.
He is our All in All – He is our peace, provision, joy, strength, healing – our Everything.
So take some time to be Thankful this season for all He has brought you through – reflect on what you have become because of His greatness.
Let the trials be fuel to the burning fire inside of you to tell the story of Him this Season.
Question: How have you turned trials into rejoicing?