Women ask me, on a regular basis, “How can I know God’s will for me?” I love when they ask that question, because the answer is so clearly spelled out in Scripture. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, yet profound: Praise Him in the pain.
In First Thessalonians 5:18, we are told “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God knows it doesn’t take much effort — or sincerity — on our part to thank Him when things are going great in our lives. But to thank Him for everything? Even the difficult and painful things? That’s another story. That requires obedience and putting aside our feelings and saying “I don’t understand this, but I choose to trust You and thank You for it, anyway.” That is an act of love. That makes us more Christ-like. And that is God’s will for us.
In my newest book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I point out that we can experience joy in the midst of our difficult times, and be assured we are living according to God’s will, when we learn to praise God in the pain, sing to Him in our suffering, and lift up our hearts to Him when we’re feeling loaded down.
Because that’s easier said than done, let me give you three ways to praise Him, even when it hurts, so you, too, can experience joy and please the heart of God:
- Consider God’s Character: The Bible says God’s ways are “perfect” and therefore He cannot do anything that is against His nature of being loving and good. This is something you can bank on. This is reason for praise, even when you don’t understand why something is happening.
- Consider it Joy: We are instructed in James 1:2-3 to “consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” God is refining you through your struggles. That means He has a purpose in all of it. That transformation of your character is reason for joy.
- Consider it Loss: When we hold too tightly to possessions, positions, and even people, we will have a harder time losing them. But Philippians 3:8 tells us to “consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus….” The man who wrote those words suffered far more than we probably ever will and yet he praised God in his pain because his greatest treasure in life was knowing God.
Are you ready to move beyond your pain? Then praise Him in it. Are you ready to live according to the will of God? Then give thanks in everything — even the painful things. I know it’s difficult, but it is the first step in the transformation process of becoming more like Christ. You’ll be living out His will for you and discovering joy in the process.