Have you ever wondered why you should be thankful? You see bible verse after bible verse, telling you to be thankful in all things, but does it really mean all things? Like everything? The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and everything in between? What about all the bad things that happen? Do we need to be thankful for those too?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
I want to be honest and say that I wrestle with this. Because I am human, and sometimes my mind can’t comprehend why I should be thankful in certain things. Like when my car got stolen. Or when we had a problem with rodents last year (and looking back I can tell you that I can be thankful that we were safe, and that God took care of detail in both situations).
But the rest of this verse says that giving thanks is God’s will for us.
“…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Part of His will for us is to be thankful.
And I have to tell you that gratitude actually changed my life. I had held on to something for way to long. It was a mixture of fear, and anxiety. And it was underlying for years. Like years! I often wondered what would make it go away. And after the years of carrying this, the only thing that changed my heart was gratitude.
A number of years ago, I took the month of November to write down 30 things per day that I was thankful for. I want to tell you that it was hard, but I can’t. There were times that once I began, I could have easily listed more than 30 things per day.
But I know that sometimes we can feel stuck, and finding things to be grateful for may seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So I want to share with you some things that we can always be thankful for, and hope that this may be a starting ground for a heart that flows with gratitude, because that is His will for us.
His promises are fixed in heaven.
We are on the receiving end of something unshakeable. God’s kingdom. In a world that is constantly changing, this doesn’t. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because of this Hebrews 12: 28-29 says, “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”.
With us is God. One day He will make it all right.
This weekend begins the Christmas season. The season that we celebrate Jesus. Emmanuel. With us is God.
He came to tear the veil that separated us from God for so long. He came to dwell among us, so that we can abide in Him.
As Ephesians 5: 31-32 suggests that like a man leaves his father and mother, to unite with his bride, Jesus left his Father, and the brilliance of heaven, to be united with His bride, the Church.
And His promise is that one day He will wipe every tear from our eye, and there will be no more death. No more mourning, or grieving, or pain.
That He goes before us.
He doesn’t just go before us, He went way before us. Since the beginning of time, when He laid the foundation of the earth in its place.This verse gives me so much comfort, because if He goes before us, than that means He knows the way. And He is already at the finish line. In heaven, on His throne. Jesus sitting at His right hand.
He comforts us like a mother comforts their child. – Isaiah 66:13
If you are a parent, you know how hard it is to watch your child when they are hurting. You know what makes them cry, you know their fears. And you remember their tears.
God remembers our tears too. David asks God to set his tears in his bottle (Hebrew translation is skin, bottle, skin-bottle), and asks if they are not in His book. I have to wonder reading the word “skin” in the Hebrew texts if it means that David wanted to be comforted in God’s arms so much so that his tears would soak His skin. As a child would crawl into the mother’s arms as her child’s tears soaked her skin.
I will never know, but we can take comfort that God knows our struggles, and sees our tears. He remembers our sorrows.
We endure all things in Him who gives us strength.
Life is not easy, no matter how much we would like it to be. And at times we can feel weak, and like we can’t over on. However, His joy is our strength, and strength and joy are found in His dwelling place. When we seek Him, He gives us everything we need to endure every circumstance.
And He encourages us to not be afraid, and take heart because He has overcome the world.
That He can even if He doesn’t.
You may be praying continually for something that God has not been doing. And what we want opposed to what He allows, can be a hard thing to understand. Even in that wrestling, we can be thankful that He can, even if He doesn’t, because then we are thankful for who He is, as opposed to what He can do.
I have to think of the cross here. And how when Jesus was hanging on the cross people and the rulers sneered at Him, saying that if He was truly the “Chosen One”, “Messiah”, He would save Himself.
And He could have. Just like He turned water into wine, walked on water, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He was and is that powerful. But sometimes He doesn’t show His power, because He is displaying the depth of His love. And that love was lavished on us because of the work on the cross..
For whatever leads me to to seek refuge in Him.
This is probably the hardest thing. There are things I know God can take way, even if He doesn’t. These are the things that keep me leaning on His strength, and clinging to Him like my life depends on it.
So my prayer for myself, is my prayer for us all. I want to be found in a heart posture of gratitude for anything that leads us to the foot of the cross. And when He leads me to the point of grace, because that is where the God of all comfort displayed the depth of His love for us.
What are you thankful for?