“...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:18
For most Americans Thanksgiving is a matter of national significance. Hopefully Christians will crowd their churches on Thanksgiving Eve or Day to praise God for His generosity and His open hand and then give Him thanks again as they enjoy a gathering with family and friends around the table.
It’s easy to give thanks in a setting in which we have so many blessings to count that we will be hard-pressed to think of all of them. But Scripture is urging us that we give thanks in everything. Clearly as we examine life there is an existing tension. “Should I thank him for my weaknesses?” A difficult question; however, the Scriptures say, “Yes!” Only when a Christian does so do we fully appreciate and thank God for His great strength. “Should I thank him for my failures…my many failures?” Yes, for these too! He alone “gives the increase.” How difficult it is to give thanks to God in time of frustrations, illness, loss, disappointment. At such times, however, we may approach God with awareness that He is “at work for good in everything.” And this lets us approach him with a thankful heart, sincerely praying, “Thy will be done.”
Perhaps you, like me, find it much easier to thank God when things go exactly as planned. But Christians learn that God also uses “storms” to teach us; to teach us gratitude. It is in the dark night of despair over ourselves that the stars of His promises shine the more brightly.
What leads us to learn to thank God in everything is the Good News that “God did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” Then it is just a small step to our being assured of God’s provident care in every circumstance that He allows to come into our lives. St. Paul took that small step when he wrote, “Will he not with his Son also freely give us all things?” Such assurance had already allowed him to say his all-inclusive “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Put it into practice in your Thanksgiving celebration. Count your many blessings but also count the difficulties through which the Lord is working out His will in your life. He has His hand in everything, all for your good!
“O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us, to keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed, and free us from all ills of this world in the next.” ~ “Now Thank We All Our God” by Martin Rinkart (1636)
Have a happy Thanksgiving as you give thanks in everything! Not just on one day but every day!