Thanksgiving should be a constant practice for believers, especially when things get tough. Dr. Stanley encourages us to remain thankful in the midst of adversity. With gratitude comes a whole host of benefits—greater awareness of His presence, increased trust, joy, decreased anxiety—that energize us when we feel beaten down. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to

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touch Thanksgiving in the midst of


it’s one thing to be grateful when

everything is going your way

but when everything is not going your

way what is your response

and sometimes we justify our wrong

attitude our ugly attitude

our ungrateful Spirit by saying well God

shouldn’t allow these things to happen

to me or if God is who he says he is he

wouldn’t allow this to happen and they

may look in the Bible and tell you well

there’s some parts of the Bible I don’t


and so instead of rejoicing and praising

God and thanking him for who he is and

what he has done for you sometimes we’d

let doubts sort of scatter

our thoughts of Thanksgiving

but today I want you to listen very

carefully because I want to talk to you

about why you should be a very grateful


what God is doing in your life

and the consequences of what he’s doing

in your life

and I want you to turn if you will to

first Thessalonians and Paul in first


in this fifth chapter

he’s ending up this epistle and he comes

to these letter verses and he says a

great deal in verse after verse

but when you come to the 16th verse

there’s sort of a Triad here and it says

three things he says number one Rejoice

always is that easy no it’s not

then he says pray without ceasing

is that easy not not really then he says

in everything give thanks for this is

God’s will for you in Christ Jesus is

that easy no it’s not

so if you’ll notice in verse 18 He says

in everything give thanks now hold it

hold your finger right there go back to

Ephesians chapter 5 and look what he

says in verse 20. and then I’ll talk

about the difference

verse 20 says

always giving thanks for all things in

the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God

even the father now hold it right there

I’m going back in everything give thanks

always giving thanks for all things now

this is where sometimes I think people

get confused and if you’re one of those

persons who’s not a Believer not a


you’d say see

there’s no way I could be a Christian if

I have to give thanks for everything

so let me just clarify something

when Paul said In this passage always

giving thanks for all things

in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ

watch this I can’t ask God or I’ll give

thanks for things that are totally

inconsistent with the nature of God for


let’s say your little boy steps out in

front of the car and gets killed

does God expect you to be happy and and

to thank him for that no

and for example you go home from church

and you have a note there from your

husband your wife and one of them says

uh well I just leaving you a note to

tell you that I’m leaving you and I’m in

love with somebody else and I’m gonna

get married and so this is the end of

our marriage does God expect you to be

grateful no and so then when Paul says

in this uh fifth chapter of

Thessalonians he says in everything give


that is in every circumstance I can give

thanks for what that he’s My Savior My

Lord my master my God lord I don’t

understand why you allowed us to happen

but in the midst of this I’m going to

give you thanks because I know that

you’ll help me to survive you’ll help me

to be able to Bear the pain to get

through the sorrow and the heartache and

the loss and all the adversity I feel in

my heart I’m going to thank you that

you’ll be with me in it but I’m not

thanking God for what happened anything

that is inconsistent with who God is

we don’t we don’t thank him for that

that’s not what Paul is thinking about

he’s thinking about our relationship to

him and that we can give thanks for

whatever God allows in our life because

we’re giving thanks to him listen

because of who Christ is within us

whatever he allows in our life

he will turn it for good because we read

what else Paul said when he said God

causes all things to work together for

good watch this to those who love him

the those who called according this

purpose even the most difficult trying

heartbreaking things he will turn for

our good do we always understand that no

he didn’t say I had to understand it in

fact there’s an old gospel hymn will

understand it better by and by by and by

not necessarily now but now

what Paul is referring to now in the

midst of all this we can be grateful to


so what I want to do is I want us to

think about why should we be grateful to

God in everything number one I’m going

to give you a list here it keeps us

continually aware

that we are walking in his presence

which contributes to a Godly life by

thanking him and everything I’m being

continually reminded that I’m walking in

his presence I’m not walking alone so

whatever I may heard over whatever I’m a

weep over whatever I may suffer loss

about I know this that I’m walking in

his presence that I’m not doing it alone

and if there’s one thing we need when

we’re going through turmoil and

heartache and loss of somebody we love

or some situational circumstances there

is something about being aware

of the presence in his presence in

everything give thanks even in the midst

of it and so one of the reasons I should

give thanks is because what does it do

it contributes to a Godly life because

if I’m aware of his presence then I’m

thinking about how does God see this

what is God promised me in the midst of

this how is he going to work in this

situation circumstance and so I think

one of the primary reasons would he give

thanks is it reminds us that we’re

walking in his presence and when you

begin your day aware that you are

walking in his presence that he’s living

on the inside of you that no matter what

happens during the day it’ll happen in

the presence of an all-loving omnipotent

omniscient omnipresent holy God you’re

walking in his presence what could be

finer than that there’s a second reason

and that’s this that being grateful

motivates us to look for his purpose and

everything that happens

if I’m grateful I’m going to look for

his purpose God I don’t understand it

and I think all of us can list some

things in our life that have happened to

us that we’d say well God what are you

up to

he doesn’t watch this he doesn’t expect

us to figure that out

in other words God will sometimes reveal

his purpose and sometimes he doesn’t

probably at some point in life he will

but oftentimes you and I face

circumstances that are shocked to us

well God I didn’t expect that I didn’t

anticipate that does that mean that God

has forgotten you know

does that mean I’m to be grateful yes I

am even though I don’t understand his

purpose I’m still to be grateful because

he says he watch this he causes

all things to work together for good to

those who love him

though those who called according this

purpose that is those who are walking in

his will he’ll turn it to good if you’re

living in sin or if you get disappointed

with something God does in your life you

say well if God loved me one let it

happen and you decide to walk away from

God then you can’t claim that promise

god listen to God who is this God the

only person who can say this is Almighty

Sovereign god of the universe God causes

all things that’s what happened to you

that’s what happened to you he causes

all things to work together for good

that is he’ll turn the worst kind of

things for good if I trust him and if I

if I’m able to just say well God I don’t

understand it I don’t like it it’s

painful I feel the loss I I this doesn’t

fit what I think about you but I’m going

to trust you because you’re a loving God

and I’m going to thank you in spite of

everything I feel you say oh that’s not


you know when you’ll find that it’s real

when you do it

and sometimes we think well because I

don’t feel it it’s not true listen God

is the same when things are good he’s

the same when things are bad he doesn’t

change when he makes a promise he keeps

his promise there’s a third reason for

giving thanks

thanking him helps me trust him when I

don’t understand why

all of us have been through

circumstances that we didn’t understand


he never promises to tell me why

he promises to be with me

no matter what

through it to enable us to face it and

to walk through it that’s his promise

and one thing about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving reminds me and helps me to

remember the fact that I don’t have to

understand it I just have to be obedient

in the process

and then I think one other thing that

happens is


it’s really essential in our rejoicing

in the midst of suffering in other words

if I’m if if I’m going to Rejoice

realistically I got to thank him

watch this carefully

the pain and hurt and suffering you may

be going through may be so deep

so penetrating

and so exhausting

that when you tell God you’re grateful

you don’t feel it

well how does God think about that

here’s how God thinks about it

I understand how you feel

I know you’re hurt I know your pain I

know you’re suffering I know when you

tell me that it’s okay that’s only words

because that’s all you’re capable of

saying right now the wonderful thing

about a loving God is this when I can’t

even express it

he hears it

when I feel so shut out so rejected so

hurt so full of pain and maybe it’s

physical pain when my physical pain

shouts louder than I can speak

one thing I know for sure

God hears me though nobody else can

I can thank him

I can thank him no matter what

watch this I can thank him with my lips

and that counts

until I can thank him with my heart

my soul my spirit my very being

it all counts with him because he

understands the depth of our heart

the reason I know why is because he

understood what Jesus was feeling

when it was stretched out on a cross and

crying out my God my God why have you

forsaken me

when I think about that I think about he


maybe when I don’t feel it

and I’m not all that sincere about God

helping me he understands

he understood his son

he’ll understand you in me

then I think

when you and I can say thank you God for

difficult times

there’s something about our witness

about our testimony that changes

and so when you can say to someone you

know I’ve been there

when you can say

I know what it means to walk in your

steps and I can tell you I understand

why you don’t believe I understand why

you’re hurting I understand why you

don’t want to talk about God that you

don’t understand what he’s doing I

understand that because that’s where I


Al heard our pain our suffering our


albertans do what they fling the door


to other people who need to look inside

and say there’s somebody who understands

me fully and so

we make a great impact then of course it

helps us displace our own anxiety with

peace in other words the anxiety is gone

and there’s this awesome sense of peace

and you know the interesting thing about

the Greek word peace the Greek word is

Irene which means to bond together

and so when I think about the peace of


we abound with him when I think about

the awesome sense of his presence and

Power in our life

bound together

and when we’re able to thank him

something happens on the inside

what happens is the anxiety crumbles

within us and the peace of God just

fills ours up

watch this carefully nothing else may

have changed I may still be physically

feeling what I’m feeling I can be

emotionally feeling what I’m feeling

when I think about it but there’s an

overwhelming sense of indescribable

peace that only comes through a personal

intimate relationship with Jesus Christ

so what’s the wisest thing

when you go through some trauma you have

to get out the ball and drink

or smoke

or chew

or have an affair

or run away from the circumstance now

what’s what’s your response

when you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ

you may not feel it at first you may not

even know how to say you may just tell

God I don’t even know how to pray it’s

okay he knows your heart

you tell them you keep talking to him

before long you’ll be thanking God

surprising yourself

because that’s the work of the Holy


to Miller up our heart

to give us understanding to help us to

see that he’s willing

what did Paul say elves on these

visitors don’t be anxious about anything

but in everything by prayer and

supplication does he mean no anxiety

no it doesn’t mean that because

sometimes we’re hit with anxiety


but don’t stay there I’m anxious about

it now but Lord when I start praying and

thanking God amidst my anxiety my

anxiety turns to peace

and sometimes when we read the scripture

we say that’s what it meant well that

doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be


but when we are

we turn to him and the anxiety is

replaced by peace I don’t understand it

God but I want to thank you that you’re

in control I want to thank you that you

know all about it I want to thank you

that you know my future I want to thank

you that you have a willful mother I

want to thank you that you’re going to

work all this I don’t like it I don’t

understand it lord it’s it’s hurting me

terribly but I want to thank you thank

you thank you that you haven’t left me

to myself

you’re going to help me through this and

he will

Thanksgiving is a part of that and then

this is one of the hardest things to do

when you’re really hurt something’s

going on inside and that’s the focus on

him rather than the circumstances

if I focus on the circumstances here’s

what happens the pain becomes more



eludes me

nothing seems to work out right

if I’m focusing on what’s Happening and

focusing on what I think the situation

is the circumstances if that’s my focus

I’m not going to have it at peace

if that’s my focus I’m not going to have

any Thanksgiving but I’m the focus on

what I know is real watch this carefully

whatever you’re facing this is real

if you are a follower of Jesus Christ

this is really if you’re not this is not

true if you’re a follower of Jesus

Christ and you’re going through some

terrible time time in your life whatever

it may be

here’s what you know for certain number

one you’re not alone

number two he’s with you number three he

loves you number four you’re Eternal

secure and I could just go on and on and

on of what happens when you and I begin

to see it from God’s perspective

because he’s that kind of God

now if you don’t have Jesus

then what

what do you have to hold on to

I can tell you without Jesus

you don’t have anything to hold on to

and if you’ve never trusted Jesus as

your personal savior this is a perfect

time to do it

he said what do I do

well first of all

you tell him that you believe he is God

I believe that you are I don’t

understand it all but I believe you are

I believe

the testimony of scripture that you sent

Jesus into the world for the primary

purpose of dying on the cross

and somehow though I don’t fully

understand it God somehow I I read in

the scriptures that that his death made

it possible for you to forgive me of my

sins that’s what happened

when he shed his blood

that was his life he laid it down so

when you called upon him to ask him to

forgive you of your sin

he will do so you don’t have to beg and

plead make promises you’re going to do

this no you ask him he says if we

confess our sins he’s faithful and just

the forgive us of our sins and the

cleanses from all unrighteousness

and then he says

we’re forgiven

he writes our name in the Lamb’s Book of

Life That’s the Eternal book

when you die you’re going to heaven not

because you’re perfect

but because his perfect son paid the

perfect price

for you to be forgiven of your sin

it would be a shame for you to die

without Jesus

especially when you’ve heard the truth

and no matter what you’re facing in life

you can be forgiven

he’ll change your Eternal future

if you’ll do that sincerely and that’s

my prayer for you

father have very very very very very

grateful we are

and while we could list many things one

is sufficient

very grateful for Jesus

through whom

every good thing every blessing comes

I pray that every person who hears this


would be wise enough

to receive Christ as their savior

and every person going through

difficulty hardship and pain and

suffering and all kinds of adversity

would be willing not by feeling but by

choice willing to start thanking you

for what you’re doing

whatever your reasoning may be

thanking you

for your purpose in their life in Jesus

name amen