One of my favorite childhood books was Pollyanna, the story of the optimistic young girl who always found something to be glad about—even when bad things happened.
I was reminded recently of that literary friend when my real-life friend fell and broke her arm while riding her bicycle. Marianne told me how thankful she was that she was able to ride all the way back home and how grateful she was that she wouldn’t need to have surgery. It was her left arm (she’s right-handed), she said, so she would still be able to work. And wasn’t it great, she marveled, that she has good bones, so her arm should heal fine! And wasn’t it wonderful that it hadn’t been any worse!
Whew! Marianne is an example of someone who has learned to rejoice in spite of trouble. She has a confidence that God will care for her—no matter what.
Suffering eventually touches us all. And in times of difficulty, thankfulness is usually not our first response. But I think God looks at us with pleasure when we find reasons to be thankful (1 Thess. 5:16-18). As we realistically look for the good despite our bad circumstances, we can be grateful that God is holding us close. It is when we trust in His goodness that we find gladness.