First, I give thanks for what God can do in or with the evil circumstance to achieve a greater good. This truth is expressed in the saying, “God permits what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves.” I think the most significant event God hated but permitted in order to accomplish what He loves was the crucifixion of His one and only Son. I think God hated to see His one and only Son scourged and nailed to a cross just as I would hate to see it happen to my one and only son. Can a disease be understood this way? If the disease is accomplishing something in the soul that God loves, for example, humility, generosity, and most importantly a deeper love for God and other people, then Yes.
I heard this in chapel from a song played by our chief chaplain: “May your bad days prove God is good.” Bad days give God the opportunity to demonstrate His goodness. These two statements are an expression of Romans 8:28.
Second, I give thanks for how PD affects our relationship. “Love is the ultimate and highest goal.” Viktor Frankl came to this realization seeing the image of his wife while he suffered terrible deprivation and humiliation in a Nazi death camp. He wrote, “I did not know whether my wife as alive… but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. ‘Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is a strong as death.’” (Frankl quoted Song of Solomon 8:6.) PD has deepened our love for each other.
Third, I give thanks for the “secret of contentment” in every trial (Philippians 4:11-13). The ‘secret’ is God gives peace, wisdom, and strength; therefore, I am content. I give thanks for “sufficient grace”. Sufficient grace was given to Paul when his “thorn in the flesh” would not be removed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Whatever trial God permits us to experience to accomplish what He loves will be accompanied by His sufficient grace.
Finally, I give thanks because every disease that is an effect of the sin curse upon creation will cease to exist in Christ’s new kingdom. Read Revelation 21.