Two women holding hands during the Thanksgiving meal prayer


3 Ways to Give Thanks Through Your Trials

Nov 23, 2023

The holiday season is a welcome opportunity to “count our blessings.” But what if right now your life seems to be full of sorrow rather than joy?

The words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8–11 encourage our hearts and help us endure the difficulties we experience through the lens of the gospel. As we know what God’s Word says about suffering, we get to know Him more deeply and can live differently—suffering in a way that glorifies God and results in praise.

Straight from 2 Corinthians 1:8–11, here are three ways to give thanks through your trials:

  1. Remember God’s Past Deliverances
  2. Trust in God’s Future Deliverance
  3. Lean on Your Community
A young woman praying privately at a table

Remember God’s Past Deliverances

Paul greets the Corinthians with gratitude for God’s comfort during periods of suffering (2 Corinthians 1:1–7). In verse 8, he recounts a recent time when he and his comrades faced an extremely difficult situation—so difficult that they “despaired even of life.”

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death…

2 Corinthians 1:8

As he recounts his suffering to the Corinthians, it’s clear that Paul viewed the affliction that he and his friends experienced through the lens of the gospel. Although the situation he found himself in was dire, this trial sparked desperation that sent Paul running straight to the Lord. And in the Lord’s presence, despite the suffering he was enduring, he remembered God’s past deliverances—specifically, when God raised Jesus from the dead. If God could deliver Jesus even from death itself, He could deliver Paul and his friends from anything.

As you go through trials in this life—maybe even in this season—consider…

When has God delivered you in the past? How has He rescued you through Christ? Even if it seems difficult at first, remember and thank God for His past deliverances. Let desperation drive you to God, where you will find peace and joy.

Trust in God’s Future Deliverance

2 Corinthians 1:10 says,

who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us…

Remembering God’s past deliverances—that He is a God who raises the dead and did indeed deliver Paul from a desperate situation—encouraged Paul and gave him confidence that God would do it again in the future. He was so confident that he said it twice! “[God] will deliver us” and “He will yet deliver us.”

Instead of fearing the future or dwelling on the pain of the past, Paul focused on God. He “set” his hope on God, trusting Him.

When you encounter suffering, how can you put your hope in the Lord? Dwelling on who God is, what He’s done, and what He is capable of doing will help you put your trials into perspective and praise Him even before deliverance comes.

Lean on Your Community

Part of Paul’s deep trust in God stemmed from his confidence that God answers prayer. He continues,

And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:10b–11

As he wrote this to the Corinthians, maybe Paul thought of Peter, released from prison by an angel to join a prayer meeting of believers interceding on his behalf (Acts 12:1–17). Maybe he thought of other saints rescued from dire situations because of the believing prayer of fellow believers. Or maybe he thought of times past when God had answered believers’ prayers on his behalf.

Regardless, from both prior experience and the witness of Scripture, Paul knew that God loves to answer the prayers of His people. When God responds to our united prayers for deliverance, the result is the multiplication of thanksgiving, which glorifies God (check out 2 Corinthians 4:15).

As you endure the difficulties in your own life, how can you lean on your community? How can you ask others whom you trust for prayer—so that when God answers you all can join in giving Him the glory?

Whatever you’re going through this holiday season, we pray you are encouraged by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8–11. His confidence in God encourages our hearts that we also can give thanks through our trials, trusting that the God who raised Jesus from the dead will take good care of us too.

A family or group of people sitting happily at a table with a prepared meal

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