When Life is Easy and Hard | UMC YoungPeople
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October 2017

When Life is Easy and Hard

By Austin Leeviraphan

Life can be both easy and hard, but the Bible returns again and again to a call to be thankful in all situations. This study walks through the reality of thankfulness in all situations as we explore several inserting moments in the Bible.


What are you most thankful for in your life?

How often do you express your thankfulness to others?

Why do you sometimes take for granted the things you should be thankful for?

What are some circumstances in life that you think it would be hard to be thankful during?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Scripture constantly tells us (like it does here in 1 Thessalonians that we need to rejoice and be thankful in all circumstances and in all situations. We are going to take a moment and look at some circumstances in the Bible and ask a couple questions. Read these scriptures and answer the two questions below about each one: Acts 16:15-25, Philippians 1:3-8 (remember Paul is in Prison while writing these letters), Mark 14:32-36, and Luke 22:17-22

  • What was the circumstance?
  • How do you think the person chose to be thankful and joyful in that circumstance.”

Being thankful doesn’t always come easily. What are some common things that can get in the way of us feeling thankful and joyful?

Why do you think those things didn’t get in the way of Paul or Jesus and their feelings of thankfulness and joy in the scriptures we just read?

Sometimes we think that it’s only appropriate to be thankful when things go our way, but Paul and Jesus show us that true thankfulness and our source of Joy comes from things going God’s way, even when it directly goes against our plans. Why should we be more thankful when things go God’s way instead of our way?

Share one of two stories:

  • A time when things went your way, but afterwards you weren’t very thankful that they had.
  • A time when things didn’t go your way, but afterwards you were thankful they had gone the way they did.

Let’s Reread Jesus’s prayer from the garden of Gethsemane right before his arrest in Mark 14:35-36.

Jesus was very scared to die, he was deeply grieved by his coming death. He was praying for another way, a path that didn’t lead to his torture and death. This is one of Jesus’s most human moments, we can relate with Jesus and His fear. In the midst of His deep sorrow and fear though, He finishes his prayer by saying, “but not my will God, but Yours”. And Jesus would go on to willingly take the cross in our place, He even took it thankfully. Why was Jesus thankful to embrace God’s will and God’s plan instead of His own plan?

Austin was born and raised in Norman, OK. He is the Associate Director of Student Ministries at McFarlin Memorial UMC, and has a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Oklahoma.