We’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks.”
It’s easy for me to give thanks when I run my hands through a grandchild’s hair, or smell the damp earth after a spring rain, or gaze out of a frosted window at the new fallen snow.
But what about the life of a newborn baby snuffed out before she took her first step, or the ears of my mom that can’t hear my words, or a loved one shaking a fist saying, “I don’t love you.”
Why should I thank God for those things?
I think it’s because giving God thanks for all things demonstrates a recognition that He is a good God (Psalm 118:29), regardless of whether I consider something to be a blessing or a burden.
Giving thanks expresses my trust that God has a perfect plan. I believe that He is working all things for His good purposes (Romans 8:28), whether I understand or not.
So, what am I thankful for? Here’s my list:
- Faith (Galatians 2:16; John 3:16): Almighty God, thank You that I don’t have to earn my way to heaven. Thank You for the gift of faith. I know that I have been made right with You because of my faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. My salvation is secure.
- Family (1 Timothy 5:4): Thank You, Father, for creating families. Thank You for giving me parents, siblings, a spouse, children, and grandchildren. Family is part of Your plan and I’m so grateful for my loved ones.
- God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12): Jehovah God, thank You for giving us the Bible – Your Word. It guides me, comforts me, and gives me hope.
- Creation (Revelation 4:11): Lord, as I see a golden sunrise filling the morning sky, watch a hummingbird outside my kitchen window, or gaze from the top of a mountain, I can’t help but praise You. How great You are! Thank You for the beauty of nature and the promise that the best is yet to come.
- Love (1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:16): Abba Father, when I read that love is patient, and kind … not jealous or boastful … not seeking its own … keeping no record of wrongs … I feel so inadequate. But when I remember that You are love and that You will love through me, I have hope. You are love itself. Thank You for wanting to shine through ordinary people like me.
- Daily problems (James 1:2-4): Jehovah-Jireh, You are my provider. If I didn’t have problems, my focus would grow inward. I thank You, by faith, for the trials of this life because they draw me to You and remind me that this Earth is not my home.
- Suffering (1 Peter 2:22-24; 1 Timothy 1:8): El-Shaddai, most powerful God, why is there suffering on this Earth? How could a good God allow helpless children to endure great hardships and faithful saints to be persecuted?
- My inadequacies (Proverbs 20:24): Lord, there is much about life that I don’t understand. But You didn’t ask me to understand, did You? You asked me to trust You, and You are trustworthy. You promise that You are working all things out – right now. I do trust in You, O Lord.
- Prayers of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27): Sometimes I just don’t know how to pray, Lord. I don’t know what to ask for and I don’t know what to do. That doesn’t surprise You, does it?
- I am not in control (Psalm 103:19): Jehovah-Nissai, the Lord our Banner, You go before me, and I am so glad. You know the many times I’ve prayed for specific things only to be grateful later that You responded, “No.”
O, Lord, I know the answer. It’s in Your Word. I only have to look to Jesus (1 Peter 2:22) who committed no sin; yet, He was crucified for our sin – for my sin.
I need only look to the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:8) who accepted his suffering for the gospel, knowing that he could endure hardships through the power of God, believing that You would work it all for Your good purpose.
Thank You that the Holy Spirit understands my weaknesses and that He prays for me according to Your perfect will.
You have the big picture. So often You’ve answered my prayers with something much better than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for being in control – and not me. Thank You, Sovereign Ruler over all.
This Thanksgiving Day, and every day, I want to give thanks.
Give thanks in everything.
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