We’ve been talking about the four pillars of Thanksgiving this month. But the fourth pillar is my personal favorite. The process of thanksgiving, of learning how to be thankful for all things that God does in our lives, begins with knowing God’s goodness through his provision, protection, and providence.
The second pillar of the process is feeling God’s goodness through gratitude. The third is declaring God’s goodness through public vocal thanks. And now we arrive at the fourth pillar, celebrating God’s goodness through contentment and joy.
Paul demonstrates this pillar in the book of Philippians. The most common word in the book has to do with joy and rejoicing. In Philippians 4:10-13, he highlights the attitude of being content in every circumstance.
He’s talking about financial contentment for the most part, but contentment must permeate every part of our lives. Even in the worst situations of our lives, we can be content because we know, feel, and declare God’s goodness. No matter what our circumstance we know God’s got our back.
It doesn’t always feel that way in the hard times, but we must trust that God is working goodness into the background of our lives. If nothing else, he is strengthening our faith and character through the trials we face.
It’s a lot easier to be content when things are going her way. When money’s in the bank and food’s on the table gratitude and thanksgiving flow from our hearts. But in the hard times begin to ask questions and wonder if God is still there.
God is the same whether we are on the mountaintop of praise or in the valley of testing. To pass the test, we must learn contentment in every situation. Our circumstances are the waves on top of the ocean, but our iceberg of joy must be founded on the bottom of the ocean where the water is barely moving.
Joy is a deep-seated trust in God’s goodness despite the circumstances on the top. Happiness is superficial but joy powers through the bad times as well as the good. No matter what’s happening on the surface joy is the concrete our feet are planted on.
I’m not saying our trials and suffering aren’t real. I’m not saying we can’t struggle to exhibit God’s joy while we are going through these hard times. But the trials and the devil can’t steal our joy. It is like a suit of armor we can wear through the trials.
God pours out his blessing and promises on us the matter what our situation may be. That’s will and we can have joy despite our trials and sufferings. Koch joy is bigger than our pain and our struggles. His joy is one of the only anchors that keeps us above the water during these tough times.
Even when we’re going through hard times, suffering depression and other emotions on the surface, God’s goodness pulls us through. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). One of the best things we can do when our hearts are challenged by our circumstances is lift our hands in praise and lean on Jesus’ victory on the cross. We can bow our broken hearts before the God who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He can heal a broken heart like no one else (Psalm 34:18).
In the hard times, let’s remember:
- God provides for every need big and small.
- God protects us from the attacks of the enemy and anything that comes against us.
- God’s providence provides a plan for our lives that is perfect and suited just for us.
- A grateful heart recognizes God’s goodness.
- A grateful heart acknowledges God’s goodness.
- A grateful heart is generous because of God’s goodness.
- We can thank God for the little things that we don’t even think about.
- We can thank God for every victory big and small.
- We can raise our hands in praise no matter what our situation.
- Our joy is deeper than the waves of circumstances around us.
- Our anchor holds amidst the storm.
- We can lean on Jesus’ victory and remember that we also are overcomers.
We all need a little encouragement in the hard times. If you see somebody going through a trial, don’t forget to encourage them. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of joy and contentment in every situation of life.