Giving Thanks When Things Go Wrong

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

My husband could hear her crying all the way from his home office upstairs. She was nearly sobbing with despair. So you can understand why he’d come running with such a sound.

I tried to reassure him that our daughter was fine.

“It’s her sheets,” I explained. “I washed her favorite green sheets, and now they’re not going to be dry in time for her rest time.”

And that, my friend, was the disaster at hand. The reason for her complete and utter meltdown.

I suppose her response surprised us because she’s often strong and has handled things so much harder than this laundry mishap.

Avonléa climbs into her own wheelchair and has learned to dress herself with her one hand that works.

But here she was falling apart because she didn’t have the “right” sheets and, honestly, it seemed a little ridiculous.

And I found myself growing frustrated with the situation. Or, more specifically, frustrated with her response to the situation—which seemed so out of proportion to what was actually “wrong.”

Until I caught myself mid-frustration, feeling that sharp pain of personal conviction.

Because I too have had moments lately where it’s been one disappointment too many.

While I’m not a particularly “go-with-the-flow” kinda gal, I’ve sure tried my best to adjust with the changes required these past few weeks. Come to terms with cancellations, postponements, and with hardly anything working out as I’d envisioned for this month.

But then find myself suddenly put-out because my husband came home later than he’d said he would. Or worse, picked up everything on my grocery list EXCEPT for coffee.

This was really asking too much.

Oh, wait.

Like mother, like daughter.

The Grateful Game

So that afternoon, Avonléa and I started playing the Grateful Game. In this game, we each take turns naming something for which we’re thankful: a bed to sleep in, we’re home and not in the hospital, a few of her favorite snacks. Stuff like that.

(And, I should add, a husband who is willing to go out for groceries.)

I made up this game for our Special Girl a long time ago when it was quite necessary—-for us both.

But it’s more than a game, you see. And it’s more than just “thinking positively.”

We are specifically instructed in Scripture to “give thanks.” It’s a matter of obedience.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, Lisa, but I don’t exactly feel thankful right now. If you only realized what I am facing in this season!”

I hear you, sister. More than you might know.

But notice we’re not necessarily asked to feel thankful, only that we are to give thanks.

Giving thanks is something we get to choose to do. 

If you’re anything like me, you might have to begin by going through the motions of thankfulness…before you actually find yourself feeling grateful.

So start with the simple things; nothing is too small for which to be thankful. Then work your way up to the “bigger things” as you go along.

Make it your daily habit to give thanks to God—not only when things are going great, but when things are going wrong too. Maybe especially in those times.

In His Word

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
    for His steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1 (ESV)

In Your Life

What are 5 things you can be grateful for today? Maybe you’ll want to consider starting a gratitude journal, or a new section in your Growth Book?

We Recommend

When we put the other person first, even in little ways, we find true fulfillment. 100 Ways to Love Your Husband (and the companion, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife) offers practical, hands-on advice that can be applied immediately for spouses who want to love one another well.

Lisa and her husband, Matt, also cohost FAITHFUL LIFE, a weekly podcast focusing on what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.

Let’s Connect

Join Lisa on Instagram for further biblical encouragement!


Does this devotional look like something new to you?

Yes!! The Strength & Dignity Devotional is a NEW feature here on Club31Women. Every Monday morning, we will be sharing a biblical message of encouragement and inspiration to start your week off right!

We hope you’re truly blessed!

Lisa Jacobson

P.S. If you enjoy these devotionals, we’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two. Pass it on to anyone you know who might appreciate hearing an encouraging word!