Giving Thanks for Adversity

by Sandra Kay Chambers

Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. Joshua 4:9 NASB

At Thanksgiving, we gave thanks to God for the blessings of the past year—our daily provision of food, our jobs and homes, our family, our friends and our freedom as a nation. But how many of us ever thank God for the trials and difficulties of the past year?

Why would we do that? Author and speaker, John Bevere says in his book, Killing Kryptonite, that “Adversity locates the strength of our faith.” In other words, life’s difficulties are a kind spiritual thermometer that reveals whether we are trusting in our own ability to get through our trials, or whether we are really putting our faith in God.

In the book of James, we read: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).

We should be thankful for trials and difficulties, because they work in us a spiritual endurance and maturity.

What has helped me thank God even in trying times is collecting specific memories of God’s intervention. In the Old Testament, memorial stones were erected to remember God’s faithfulness to His people and His covenant. They also marked a special encounter with God, a victory of God’s people, or a reminder to teach their children and future generations about God’s faithfulness. Jacob, Joshua and Samuel all erected memorial stones to remember God’s intervention and deliverance in their situation. (See: Genesis 28:10-22; Joshua 4:1-8; 1 Samuel 7:7-12). I write down my “memorial stones” (memories of God’s faithfulness to me) in my journal to look back on when I face difficulties and trials.

The New Testament also speaks of a “memorial stone” that proclaims God’s faithfulness to all generations. It is the Stone which the builders rejected that has become the Chief Cornerstone of our faith. The Stone is Jesus Himself—our Savior, our deliver, our helper in times of need, our advocate, and much more (Acts 4:11 NIV).

Facing the difficulties and trials that come our way will be easier if we can look back on the “memorial stones” along the way. Remembering God’s faithfulness and His promise to never leave or forsake us will allow thanksgiving to spring up in our hearts. We can thank God for all His blessings as well as the trials and difficulties that have worked endurance and maturity in our lives.

About the author: Sandra Kay Chambers’ personal goal is to “Pray Often! Inspire Others! Create Beauty!” From this foundation, she pens articles, blogs and books to encourage Christians in their personal walk with God. She has a passion to help kids understand how uniquely created and loved by God they are. Through picture books and her kid’s devotional, Fingerprint Devotions, (coming out in 2023). Sandra encourages them to discover their God-given purpose in life. Her award-winning

adult study, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet: How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life, was birthed from her personal practice as a prayer warrior and prayer encourager. Discover more about Sandra at https://www.sandrakaychambers.com.

Join the conversation: Do you have memorial stones to look back on when God intervened or provided? Please share!

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