There are situations in life that knock our socks off — and not in a good way.

We didn’t see the results of that biopsy coming…

We didn’t understand how far gone our children were until they were too far gone to reach…

We never imagined that a day that started out so normal could take such a tragic turn…

Sure. Some of it’s our fault. Sin is messy. We walk down paths that entangle us in webs of destruction we never saw coming.

Some of it is another person’s fault. The mess from their sin ends up all over us.

Some of it is no one’s fault. Accidents, natural disasters, test results. Life happens.

So here we are. Right smack dab in the middle of a situation that feels so dark, so suffocating, so overwhelming that there is no way out.

Now what do we do?

What do we do when all the light has gone out of our world?

We bring the light.

This often comes in the form of kindness to others, but when that feels too hard, back up one step and try this instead:

Give thanks.

Today’s memory verse tells us that this is what God wants from us in tough times.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

Perhaps it’s easier for God to move us through the situation if we’re meeting Him in a posture of gratitude instead of frozen in fear. Or maybe it just feels better to focus on the positive. I don’t know. But I do know that this is what God wants me to do, so I will do it.

Notice we are not asked to be thankful for all circumstances. We are not called to thank God for the problem, but instead we are asked to look around and see the good that still exists in the midst of the problem.

Find the good in the middle of the bad, and name it.

God, you’re still with me. Thank you.

God, there’s a new gentleness in my conversations. Thank you.

God, my friends are uniting around me. Thank you.

God, I’m still here, which means I still have time to sort out this mess I’ve made. Thank you.

God, you forgive me, even when no one else does. Thank you.

Friend, God’s hand is on us. Always. If you’re having trouble finding something to thank Him for, I know He’ll be happy if you simply start with that.

May God bless you in the middle of your hurt.