I know that when a wife is offended, rejected or injured by her husband, God will make her trial work for her good - if she loves Him. (Romans 8:28)
I also know there is a strength and power that is made available to sustain her when a wife thanks God in all things, including every trial of marriage. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
None of this is new to me. I started learning this lesson in 2007. My mother sent me a copy of the book "Prison to Praise" by Merlin Carothers. In a nutshell, he teaches that the greatest balm for the pain of trial is to thank God for it while it is happening.
I really struggled with this teaching at first but God made sure I had a chance to learn it and learn it well. I suffered my stroke soon after reading the book. I experimented with thanking God for the stroke. At first, I was timid and tentative in my efforts. I began with a sincere desire to obey and it became a sincere sense of gratitude.
I was amazed at how quickly the blessings came. Personal relationships that had long been estranged were soon repaired. My neglect of personal health was soon converted to weekly visits and diligent medical oversight.
More recently my resolve was refreshed when Bruce was injured at work and when Lara, from This Adventure with The Most High, posted an entry she titled "Praise. Regardless." The title caught my attention and lingered in my thoughts for days. I began to more earnestly seek for opportunities to praise God in the daily trials of living.
And, sure enough, God was not finished making His point.
Yesterday as I was reading through the entries in my blog feed, I found more entries to support the theme.
Stephanie, at Mormon Mommy Blogs, posted an entry entitled All Things Work Together for Good where she was discussing finding purpose in our challenges. In leaving my comment for her, I became too verbose for the comment field, so I shortened it, posted it, and came here to elaborate.
The most important thing that I learned about trials is to be grateful for them while in them. I was learning to praise God for my trials when I had my stroke. I found myself in the hospital thanking Him, sincerely, for the stroke. I did not have a reason why except to praise Him because I knew that He was at work in my life and I knew that it would be for my good. It did not take long for me to see the benefit of having the stroke. I continue to see the blessings that came as a result of my stroke. (I have also had many other trials with which to test this phenomenon.)
I have come to know that trials are The Refiner's Fire and that the end result is always worth the anguish. God does promise to make all things work for good for those of us who love Him. "All things" includes our trials. He has also asked that we thank Him in all things. I do thank Him because I do love Him and I know that all things do (eventually) work for my good. They work for my good immediately when I thank Him immediately.When we can turn from our wailing and whining about the trials in our life; when we can thank God and praise God while in our deepest anguish; He will enable us to experience a much greater love than we have ever known. We will experience a love that manifests in healing and forgiveness.
Just as I began to think that "by George, I think I've got it", another blogger shared a video that riveted me to the screen. Here was a man who had taken his trust in God to a higher level than my gratitude and praise in trial. Here was a man who trusted the Lord so much that he harbored no ill will despite having lost his wife and children due to a drunk driver. I began to realize that praising God in trial is a step toward honestly trusting God in all things.