“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100 (ESV)
I think Thanksgiving is a wonderful day. A day set aside to remember why we should be thankful for all we have; for family jokes around the dinner table and dinner on the table.
Who ultimately gets our thanks? Do we thank our own hard work for providing all the things that surround us? Do we thank good luck or circumstances for dropping all our things in our lap? Or do we thank other people in our lives for helping us in our journey?
In truth, the only source of all we have is our Maker. From our bodies to our televisions, all we own is through the grace of God toward us.
But do we really own it? Do we really own our things, our children, or even our lives?
In Colossians it says, “For by him (God) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
That means your boss was created by Him, your house was given to you by Him, your health was given by Him. Whether you believe in a Savior or not, this truth cannot be broken. All things were given by Him.
The things in our lives are merely on loan until God decides to remove them. He gives and He takes based upon His perfect love toward each of us; guiding our growth by giving us new blessings or obstacles, or taking others away.
We are thankful when we have a full pantry and a good paying job and a nice house. But would you be thankful if you lost your job? Would you still be thankful if you had to leave your house for a tiny apartment? Would you be thankful if you only had enough food for one meal?
The Bible says that in everything to give thanks. Even when your health is failing? Even when you’ve just lost a loved one? Even when you don’t have as much income as you do bills?
Please understand, I don’t say these things to point a finger at you. I don’t want you to feel I’m merely preaching at you.
When I think of being thankful, my experience pulls at me to mention giving thanks in bad situations as well as good.
I have found the most joy, peace, and growth through the hardest times in my life. Through being chronically ill and almost completely secluded for two years, God gave me the greatest gift I have. Through times when we’ve had no way to pay our bills but a miracle, God taught us the greatest lesson. Through heartache and death, God has shown his greatest grace. Through our difficulties, He teaches us to rely on Him for our fulfillment, provision, and comfort.
It might sound masochistic, but I’ve come to cherish the ‘bad times’ in life as much, if not more, than the good ones. It is when I am weakest and most hopeless that I am blessed to witness Christ working the most beautifully on my behalf. It is when the world seems to be against us that I can most clearly see what is important.
Yet even these blessings do not come unless I make the choice to be grateful regardless of my circumstances. If all I can see are the waves of the storm that surround me, I quickly fall into despair. But when, by the wonderful blessing of God, I am able to look away from the storm to all the good and safety I have in Him, He opens my eyes to the beauty around me.
So this thanksgiving, I choose to be grateful for my sickness and all it has taught me. I choose to be grateful for the times when I have little, so I can better understand all those who live with nothing. I choose to be grateful for the heartaches and deaths I have witnessed and all the grace of God’s they show.
What do you choose to be grateful for?
Sorry for my absence this last week! I know I promised a Thanksgiving recipe, but sickness in the family forbade it. Hopefully next week we can get back to normal.
Thanks for understanding!