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Considering that we do not know God's ultimate plan, and we know that things that seem good now can actually turn out to be for the better down the road, we must also assume that things that seem good now can also turn out to be bad down the road. Thus, how can we thank God for anything good that happens to us if it could really be a mixed blessing, or even a curse in disguise?

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Is this a rhetorical question or are you looking for an answer? – Daniel May 2 '14 at 8:19
Isn't it fair to say that if God is benevolent, then everything that he does is for our good? Or at least that it is for the general good? – Daniel May 2 '14 at 8:21
Your question assumes we actually thank God for the seemingly good, but not for the bad. Can you demonstrate that? I ask because when it comes to blessings, there is the rule that one must bless God over the bad as one does over the good (Mishnah Berakhot 9:5). That is why we say Barukh Dayan ha-Emet over bad tidings (see Mishneh Torah - Hilkhot Berakhot 10:3 onwards). – Tamir Evan May 2 '14 at 9:37
Adding on to what Tamir said, there is a common custom to respond "Baruch HaShem" when someone asks how you are, even if you are not well. – Daniel May 2 '14 at 10:49
@MonicaCellio Chabad.org's English translation of Rashi on Bereshit 21:17 gives Rosh Hashanah 16b and Gen. Rabbah 53:14, although to be honest, I'm not sure of it's relevance, as it deals with judging people for their intent and actions, whereas we're talking here about thanking God for his part in shaping the resulting events. – Tamir Evan May 2 '14 at 15:14
up vote 6 down vote accepted
  1. All that God does is for the Good (Berachos 60b)
  2. Brachos are dependent on what has occurred to the one making the bracha now (Berachos 60a השתא מיהא טובה הוא and לדידיה). They are personal and timely expressions to God.

Thus, for bad events we should also be thanking God, but since brachos look at what just happened we instead make the bracha "dayan HaEmes". Nevertheless, it should be said with joy since "al is for the good". (Rambam Hil Berachos 10;3 from Berachpos, ibid)

Also see Rabbi Sacks has an interesting lecture on this topic and differentiates between the perspective of Halacha and Agaddah.

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Though not to detract from @Yoni's answer, which was great and authoritative, I would like to offer a perspective that is more general in principle. Man needs to praise and bless the Creator, always, because He is the Creator and we are not. At the same point, blessing the Creator effects a change in man as well; it changes our consciousness to a sort of awareness of the divine. It is true that all the Creator wills is for the good, so we can rest assured that even though we might attach a blessing to something particular, we are also blessing Him for His greatness. This way, when something goes wrong, we have the proper consciousness to understand that the Blessed One is behind everything and has our best in mind for the outcome.

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