We’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in everything.
It’s easy for me to feel gratitude 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 is working all things for His good purposes (Romans 8:28), whether or not I understand how.
So, what am I thankful for?
1. Faith (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.
2. Family (1 Timothy 5:4): Thank You, Father, for creating families. Thank You for giving me my family as part of Your plan for me.
3. 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.
4. 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?
Thank You that the Holy Spirit understands my weaknesses and that He prays for me according to Your perfect will.
5. Love (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. Thank You for wanting to shine through ordinary people like me.
6. 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.
7. Suffering (1 Peter 2:22-24, 1 Timothy 1:8): How can a good God allow helpless children to endure great hardships and faithful saints to be persecuted?
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 was crucified for my sin.
I remember also the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:8), who accepted his suffering for the gospel, believing that You would work it all for Your good purpose.
8. 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. Thank You for the beauty of nature and the promise that the best is yet to come. How great You are!
9. 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.
10. 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.”
You have the big picture. So often You’ve answered my prayers with something much better than I could have ever imagined. You are in control, not me. Thank You for that.
This Thanksgiving Day, and every day, I want to give thanks in every circumstance.
Reprinted by permission from ©FamilyLife, www.familylife.com. All rights reserved.
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Walt and Ann Bealke have been married for a long time, just not to each other. They are now 5 years into their marriage (the third for each of them), and are seeing God redeem their pasts and build a Gospel-centered marriage.
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