“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 15-17NASB)
This “chosen instrument” was the apostle Paul, and for Christ’s name sake he spread the GOOD NEWS and suffered because of it. “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.” (Acts 14:19NASB) This is what Paul had to say to the children of God about suffering.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17NASB)
Don’t stop reading, I’ve come to the thanksgiving part. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-17NASB) So, are you thankful for everything? Are you thankful for those frustrating and painful circumstances? For reasons beyond our need to know, they are God’s will for us in His Son.
Being thankful requires focus. Focus, remembering that through it all you’re still alive. While your focusing, appreciate the work God’s Spirit has performed in you. Thankfulness, true thankfulness requires faith that He is, and that He has been changing you through His will. Especially at those times when things happened that you never would have wanted. Those times requires trust in God for there to be thankfulness.
So, focus and see the hand of God on you. The potter and the clay, that sort of thing.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8NASB)
The apostle told it like it is, suffering is a spiritual consequence of being a child of God. Certainly there are degrees, not everyone is stoned and left for dead. But everyone who is God’s child is being made holy in this lifetime. Be thankful for God’s grace. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18NASB)