Thanks through struggle

Date: Wednesday, November 20

Scripture2 Corinthians 4:13-18

Verse: Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15, CEB)

I have sat with couples in hospital rooms talking about how thankful they are for the life they have had together, even at the time of battling a terminal illness. I have sat across from family members as we prepare for the funeral of their loved one, and heard them tell me how thankful they are to have had this wonderful person as their parent. I have been with people struggling financially tell me how their inability to rely on themselves to provide has strengthened their trust in God. I have had parents struggling with a teenager tell me how difficult it is to put their child in God’s hands, but later share with me how that changed their relationship with their son or daughter, with each other, and with God. These are not people who are just saying what they think they’re supposed to say. These are people, who even in the midst of the struggle, we able to see the grace and love of God.

Yesterday we read the verse in 1 Thessalonians about giving thanks in all circumstances (5:18). We talked about how quick we sometimes are to complain, and how slow and stingy we can be with our praise. We vowed to notice the good. Today’s passage asks us not only to look for good, but to look for God. I find the Common English Bible’s rendering verse 15 easier to grasp: “As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory.” When we begin to notice God’s graciousness to us – our receiving of things we do not deserve, and being spared from things we do deserve – our gratitude increases, and God is glorified. The grace is the recognition of God’s presence in the world around us, seeing God in “unlikely” places.

We tend to find what we are looking for. The people I mentioned above noticed God’s presence in their lives, even in the face of tragedy, because they knew He was there with them. When we are looking for God, we will find him, and rather than being quick to complain about our struggles, we will be ready to give him thanks for his presence.

Prayer: Give me eyes, Lord Jesus, to see you, not just in church things, but everywhere I go. Amen.

Action: Spend the next 24 hours looking for God everywhere you go.

Respond: When have you found God in an “unlikely” place? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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