How to Shrink Your Problems

Sharon JaynesA Sudden Glory, Expectant Living, Living Fully, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For 30 Comments

I want to see God today. Don’t you? What I’ve discovered is that there is nothing that will shut my eyes to seeing God’s presence and working in my life than ingratitude.

Ingratitude leaves us groping about in the dark for what will never satisfy the longings of the soul. The cure comes in capsules of praise, thanksgiving, and a grateful heart.

Gratitude is the antibiotic of the soul to cure a variety of the world’s ills.

Gratitude restores a sense of intimacy with God.

First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Notice it doesn’t say to feel thankful in all circumstances. Instead it commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” When I begin to praise God in a difficult situation, even if I don’t feel like it, my perspective changes. God grows larger and my problems grow smaller.

That was a lesson Corrie ten Boon learned from her sister Betsie as they suffered together in a German concentration camp during World War II. She tells her story in the book, The Hiding Place. They lived in Barracks 28 in overcrowded filthy conditions and nauseating stench. Reeking straw. Rancid beds. Overflowing toilets. And fleas. Everywhere fleas.

On their first day in the barracks, as Corrie was fighting the nausea from the reeking straw, and the fleas were biting her one after another, she cried out, “Betsie, how can we live in such a place!” And Betsy remembered a Bible verse they had read that very day. First Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

“That’s it, Corrie!” Betsie exclaimed. “That’s His answer. Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”

Corrie stared at her sister; then around the dark, foul-aired room and wondered what in the world they had to be thankful for. With Betsie’s help, she agreed to give thanks for the fact that they were together, that they snuck a Bible into the camp, and that the overcrowded conditions made it possible for more women to hear the Scriptures when they read each day. But she could not see clear to thank God for the fleas.

“The fleas!” she cried. “This is too much Betsie. There’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”

“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’” Betsie quoted. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”

And so they stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time Corrie was sure Betsie was wrong.

One evening Corrie got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. Betsie was waiting for her, as always, so that they could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.

“You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,” Corrie told her.

“You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,” Betsie replied. “Well—I’ve found out. This afternoon, there’d been confusion in our knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it. But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”

Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: “Because of the fleas! That’s what she said. That place is crawling with fleas!”

Sometimes I don’t see God in difficult situations, but I still can praise Him because I know He is there. Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the circumstances in our little slice of time. Thanksgiving changes our perspective despite shattered dreams, broken relationships, and heart-rending circumstances. It changes our perspective in the accumulation of little nuisances in just plain old every day life.

Gratitude is one of the most significant aspects of our relationship with God.

Looking back on all the ways God has blessed you will steady your feet in shaky times, no matter what you’re going through. As you praise God for who He is and thank Him for what He’s done, your perspective of Him grows larger and your problems grow smaller.

Let’s get this thanksgiving party started. Leave a comment and tell me 5 things you are thankful for!

Do you long for something more in your relationship with God? Do you have a “glory ache”—a hunger to experience God’s presence on a daily basis? The good news is that God wants that even more than you do. Right smack dab in the spin of the laundry and the sizzle of the bacon—as you live and more and have your being in Him. Dust for His fingerprints on the pages of your everyday life. My book A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More will show you how. Click on the title, find the book, and read a sample chapter. I think you’ll be hooked. It also includes a study guide and free online Bible study videos.




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Comments 30

  1. I am completely overwhelmed with my current responsibilities at work and at home. I need God to work mightily in my situation. Even so, I can be thankful my oldest is having a fabulous and productive time in her second year of college; I have three healthy and active children at home. We have great health insurance. We can pay for university without loans; and I have a great international church I attend overseas where I live.

  2. 1. My husbands heart attack
    2. His renewed commitment to God
    3. His desire to not fight
    4. My renewed commitment to our marriage
    5. His heart has zero damage

  3. 1.) I am thankful for my husband’s porn addiction because Without it, I would not have sought my own healing.
    2.)through painful therapy we healed and God restored our marriage and we renewed our marriage vows.
    3.)I am thankful for experiencing childhood abuse because I have knowledge and compassion for my adoptive daughters with their abusive past.
    4.)I am thankful for my husband’s colon cancer because I learned of God’s faithful presence through the long recovery.
    5.)I am thankful for all the tears I’ve shed because there is healing in those tears.
    Praise God my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  4. I am thankful first that God loves me so much. I am thankful for the love that He gives my husband to love me with. I am thankful for ministry, even when it’s messy. I am thankful for my mom, who prays for me daily. I am thankful for my kids.

  5. Good morning,
    I am thankful for the perfect love of my God who made it possible for me to be forgiven and live with Him forever.
    I am thankful for your reminder. Problems will seem much smaller and the day will look brighter when I am thankful.
    I am thankful for the love of family and friends
    I am thankful for the beauty of nature – the color of trees
    I am thankful for a legacy of Christian families

  6. Sharon I continually thank God for all my blessings life is not perfect. I am divorced by an unfaithful ex-husband who abandoned our family years ago. But the ramifications of that endure today for myself and my daughter. God got me through then and continues today to walk with us. What a great God we have. Thank you for these words today and Bless you dear women.

  7. I am thankful for a place to call home. I am thankful for a vehicle of our own. I am thankful for the two boys that I have been blessed to raise. I am thankful to have the opportunity to further my education to be able to one day teach younger children. I am thankful for a husband and partner that I can look to lean on in difficult times.

  8. Thank you for your emails, I enjoy them emensly .some times I can’t prayer as I’m finding it difficle at times so I just prayer our father who arent in heavan. So thank you for listening your friend Judith m

  9. Yes, thats it! I have been struggling with some issues in our church, but my heart understands these things happen for a God reason, which translates into a good reason. Because God is in it…its good!

  10. 1. Thankful for a wonderful Husband.
    2. Thankful for two wonderful sons, a daughter in law and two grandchildren.
    3. Thankful for a wonderful mother in law.
    4. Thankful for a wonderful extended family.
    5. Thankful for a church that challenges me but loves me anyway. Praise His Name Forever!

  11. 5 things I am most thankful for……1st for a loving husband who has stood by me & together with me through many years of life’s ups & downs. 2nd for the beautiful daughter God blessed us with after several miscarriages. 3rd for all the friends our daughter has trampling through our house on a daily basis…’s the joyful noise we prayed for those 10yrs prior to her birth! 3rd my wonderful step mom who has taught me what unconditional love is all about. 4th for our church’s children’s ministry leader for calling me & my husband to step out of our comfort zone to help teach Sunday school to elementary aged kids every Sunday. 5th for all the Christ followers God has placed in my path through out the years & years to come to help guide me along the way. And, if I can add a 6th… my friend, Crystal, who 1st introduced me to Girlfriend’s in God with a Bible study in her home. I have been getting the daily devotional ever since. Thank you for your inspiring words. They always seem to come at the right time!

  12. I’m so very thankful for 1. eternal life with Jesus Christ
    2. my precious husband
    3. my daughter, my son and his beloved wife.
    4. my precious Mom
    5.for the trials of family that draws me closer to Jesus.

  13. Today I am thankful for my 86 year old mother coming to live with me- some would see this as a burden or inconvenience- but I see it as an opportunity to have one on one time with her and to learn from her life’s experiences 🙂

  14. I am thankful for:
    – God’s son Jesus and the salvation He brings to all of us
    – God’s plan for my life
    – My Husband
    – My family
    – People God brings into my life

    Thank you Sharon and God Bless

  15. 1) I’m still alive and have breath in my lungs
    2) He allows my restful days with autoimmune issues to be in a beautiful, peaceful, comfortable home
    3) I’m blessed by a husband and family
    4) I’m blessed with prayerful friends
    5) He has healed me of so much more than just my health!

  16. I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit convicts me daily (sometimes every minute!!) to be grateful!! I’m grateful for my husband (the majority of the time – need some prayers on that !!!!), our 2 son’s, 2 daughter-in-laws & 4 grandchildren – our dog & cat – the love of working with small kiddos – I could keep going……..😉

  17. Lord, right now I want to specifically thank You for…
    1. Learning to ask for help in new ways
    2. Rejection
    3. Depression
    4. Your Presence
    5. The power of Scripture

  18. I’m thankful for my new house, my 2 beautiful daughters, my mother who is there through thick and thin to help me through my single mom journey, my church family and my relationship with God my sustainer and rock!!

  19. I loved this devotion today! Reminding us to be thankful or give thanks in all circumstances. I am currently dealing with our 35 yr. old daughter, who has Chron’s disease. Her symptoms are not being relieved by her current medication. In fact, they may be getting worse again. Thanking and praising God through all this has not been easy. Trying to give her an example to follow in me, but she just wants it all to go away. When in fact, I should be pointing her to the only one who can and desires to help her and have a relationship with her; showing her that He is fact, all she ever needed. Hope you are doing well and we (I) so enjoy all your devotions and perspectives on things.

  20. I am thankful/grateful for:
    •God’s amazing, saving grace lavished upon ME(!)
    •Being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ—
    through prayer, the Word of God, the Body of
    Christ, the Holy Spirit’s influence, & living life
    •Family & friends—loving & sharing life
    •Being able to experience & appreciate the beauty
    & wonder of it all and to know Whom to thank
    •All the “little things” God uses to demonstrate
    just how much He loves me

  21. God has allowed me to serve Him in Threads of Love for 15 years, of ups and downs of leading a sewing group.
    I praise Him for a sternum and rib inflamation that is painful and it is keepin me from lifting anything, especially our sewing supplies for Threads of Love.
    I am thankful that The Lord has told me to quit leading Threads of Love, and He is leading others to take leadership roles in our group.
    I thank Him that i know that He has something more for me to do to serve Him at my advanced age.

  22. 1) family (my husband and son and daughter)
    2) a great new job for my son
    3) a home that I love
    4) a long trial that grew my faith and led me to help
    5) delighting in my life

    Deep Gratitude = Delight

  23. I am such a complainer. But I thank God that I found your blog and read this. I often take this scripture out of context and think I should be thankful for my circumstances instead of thanking God and praising Him in the midst of them. What a difference!
    Thank you Lord for loving me.
    Thank you Lord for setting me free.
    Thank you Lord for forgiving me.
    Thank you Lord that I am whole in you.
    Thank you Lord for the family of God when my own family has let me down.
    I may not see my children and grandchildren for Thanksgiving or for a very long time BUT you O Lord are all I need. I pray that you continue to fill that gap.
    Thank you Lord for filling the empty places.

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