We can be thankful in trying circumstances because we know that our God doesn’t make mistakes. There is nothing that falls outside of his sovereign eternal decree. As the hymn writer put it, “What e’re my God ordains is right.”
Often, the most basic of God’s commands are the hardest for us to obey. We may ask ourselves whether or not we would have the faith to offer up a child to God—as Abraham did when he was called to offer up Isaac—while never really stopping to ask ourselves whether or not we have the faith to obey the most basic new covenant commands.
Take, for instance, Paul’s statement in 1 Thess. 5:18:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you all.
When we consider such a command, we must ask ourselves the following questions: Am I thankful in all circumstances? What about when times are difficult? What about when I have experienced some particular trial? The Lord commands us to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials” (see James 1:2). How can I be thankful and joyful in the midst of a painful trial?