Thankful in the Wilderness

Written by Tay Ruth

God sometimes reveals Himself through our daily lives and if we are not attuned to His ways, we may miss it. A couple of years ago, I recognized that everything in my life kept pointing back to verses on being thankful. This was confusing for me because I was going through something that I was positive I was not thankful for. However, God continually sought my heart to remind me that I am to be thankful in all circumstances.


One Sunday my dad said, “You can tell when someone has spiritual maturity through their thankful heart.”


When I heard this…I was challenged to think, “have I been thankful through everything?”


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

I’m not just talking about being thankful for my food, my family, my dogs, and my bed…I’m talking about being thankful in everything.


Thankful for my pain. This is an odd thing to consider because usually, we aren’t desiring for our suffering or pain to continue. However, I have learned that we can still choose to have a heart of thanksgiving towards the growth that takes place because of the pain in our lives. Therefore, thankful for the pain.


This does not mean that we are worshiping the suffering, but worshipping Jesus who suffered and taught us there is hope beyond our wounds.


I am SO thankful for the suffering Jesus went through. Why? Because it is the greatest Hope I’ve ever received. I’m thankful Jesus showed Himself in pain because it resonates deep with my soul.


Being thankful through everything is not always easy. Some days I have to remind myself to be thankful. Funny thing is that one time I challenged myself to write one thing I was thankful for every day, for one month. One day I wrote, I’m thankful that I’m thankful…HA! I couldn’t think of anything. Sounds sorta sad, doesn’t it?


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

But being thankful looks a lot like suffering sometimes. Meaning, sometimes the depths of our thanksgiving come from our days of suffering.


I never realized how thankful I was for my pinky/baby toe until I broke it. Easy to take things for granted and not recognize the depth of thanksgiving there is on the day to day basis. As funny as that sounds, it’s TRUE


One time I did an exercise where I imagined myself approaching Jesus and handing Him a letter of everything I was thankful for in detail to Him. This overwhelmed me and I began to cry because I realized there was so much. I was so thankful that He trusted me enough to allow me to go through some of my darkest days, that led me to a stronger and deeper place in my relationship with Him.


Thankfulness is a gift. Think about it, it’s always very noticeable when there is a non-thankful person in the room. They seem prideful and don’t thank anyone around them, they seem to expect the service of others. But there’s something so unique and special when there’s a person with the heart of thanksgiving who steps out and wants to serve others because they’re so thankful for the opportunity.


So, in order to mature spiritually, I started to practice this idea of being thankful for everything. Thankful for my pain, thankful for my sickness, thankful for my heartache, thankful for those who hurt me, thankful for those who serve me, thankful for all that God’s blessed me with, thankful in everything.


My heart began to grow. I encourage you to practice this.


Here’s a challenge. Set an alarm for a time every day and write down in your notes app/journal, one thing you are thankful for that day.


For example:
*I’m thankful I ran late today because it helped me remember I’m not always in control.
*I’m thankful that I had a bad day today because it reminds me how good my days are normally.
*I’m thankful that Jesus suffered so that I know without a doubt that He understands my circumstances.
*I’m thankful for “shut doors” because it means God has a specific plan for my life and He knows what is best for me.


Yesterday I asked you all to send in something that was difficult but you learned to be thankful for it. There was an overwhelming response with so many difficult circumstances that brought out some of the greatest lessons in life. Be encouraged to know, you are not alone.


Being thankful in all circumstances does not mean you are calling upon more suffering or asking for more pain… it means you recognize that God is able to do anything through your pain bringing you to a deeper place in your relationship with Him.


Practice being thankful for this season of waiting that you may be in. Look at your waiting season as a time of strength, preparation, humility, grace, and protection.


So, I have been trying to figure out ways to share all the verses that were sent in because there are SO MANY. So if you are wanting some direction in your quiet time… maybe this will be a good place to begin. Maybe memorizing some of these scriptures and meditating on them will be a great start.


These are the verses that were sent in that have helped some of you through your darkest days.


I will link them here where they will direct you to the scripture. Some people just sent in the full chapters which is great. I would encourage everyone to read these verses in context and let God speak to you through His word. Do not be discouraged if you read these and still feel “no good feeling,” remember…be faithful, continually go to Him, and glorify Him. God sees your heart.


Answer me when I call: Psalm 4:8
The Lord is my Shepherd: Psalm 23
God is my Salvation: Psalm 27:5
Forgiven: Psalm 32
God our Fortress: Psalm 46
My Soul Thirsts for You: Psalm 63:1
My Help comes from the Lord: Psalm 121:1-2
Honestly…all of the book of Psalms
God our Redeemer: Job 19:25 , Isaiah 43
God’s Compassion: Isaiah 55:10-11
Temptation: 1 Corinthians 10:13
By Grace through Faith: Ephesians 2:1-10
God makes everything beautiful in its time: Ecclesiastes 3:11-12

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds."
Psalm 9:1


I have so enjoyed talking with you all and praying for one another. This has been such a good reminder that even in our darkest/ hard days, as believers we are FOR each other.


Tay Ruth is a content creator and blogger based in Washington DC. You can find her other work at tayruth.com or via her Instagram @tayruths.