“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” First Thessalonians 5:16-18

I stumbled around the block, unsteady on my feet, my brain not yet healed from the injury it had sustained a few years back. The summer’s sun pounded down on me, making me feel weak and faint. I stopped for a moment to rest my weary body and soul. Tears filled my eyes as self-pity washed over me. “What do you want me to do God? I can’t work! I can’t think straight. I can hardly walk.” The tears spilled over and ran down my cheeks.

“I want you to be thankful.” God answered me.

“Thankful? For my brain injury? Thankful I have lost everything? I shook my fist at God.

“Yes, Jennifer. Thankful for everything,” God said gently.

“I don’t understand how you expect me to give thanks for something this horrendous, God.”

“I know you don’t understand. You’ll never be able to understand my mind, because I am God,” He explained patiently. “If you love and trust me, you must know that all things will work towards good. Your brain injury is no exception.”

“How do I give thanks when all I can see is loss and devastation?” I asked.

“Take a walk with me,” God suggested.

Together we finished walking around the block. I saw beautiful poppies raising their purple faces to the sky. I watched bees and butterflies dancing among the flowers. I passed by first-time mothers pushing their babies in strollers, their faces glowing with love and adoration for their little ones. I felt a cool breeze that rolled down from the hills. I heard songbirds celebrating the day with their melodies. As I limped on, I saw that God’s creation was perfect. He was in charge. He was in charge too, of my life and my circumstances. I leaned into Him as we got closer to my home.

“Thank you, God,” I whispered to him as we passed an old woman sitting on her front porch. She waved a happy hello to me.  “Thank you God for everything, including my brain injury. I don’t understand why this had to happen to me, but I will trust you. I will trust that you are in charge and you will see me through this. I know your love endures forever.” (Psalm 13:6)

As I entered my frontyard flower garden, I felt a sense of relief.

“I love you Jennifer,” God said softly.

“I love you too, God,” my chin trembled with emotion. “Thank you.” A finch flew out from the birdfeeder by my shoulder, his flash of yellow coloring the sky. I smiled and sat down in the rocker by the fountain. Peace filled my heart.

“You’re welcome,” God whispered. “You’re very welcome my child.”

If you are facing hard times, give thanks! We will never understand God’s thinking or reasoning. We can’t. We’re not God. But we can trust God and love God and know that everything is working to good, for those of us who love Him. Give thanks in all things.