Give thanks with a grateful heart…
For a long time, I had trouble with this verse. After all, there is not one adult person whom I have met who has not gone through a difficult if not nearly impossible life event. Whether death, divorce, illness, or economic loss, we each have dealt with suffering in some shape or size, and to think we must give thanks for everything we have gone through seems inconceivable. But is that really what the scripture says?
No, the Scripture does not say we give thanks for everything, but that we should give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God. It is not God’s will that we suffer–God is our Father and He does not want His children to suffer–period. But we live in a world dominated by sin, so we will suffer–it is inevitable. God’s will is not that we suffer, but that when we suffer we give Him thanks, even in the midst of our trials. God’s will is that we know, understand and believe that He is with us regardless of our circumstances.
Jack Hayford says it this way:
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.” What’s the will of God concerning you? That in everything we give thanks. That’s the will of God concerning you. The thing that happened isn’t necessarily, but that you give God praise in the middle of it. Why? Because you feel good? No. But praying without ceasing introduces a song of praise into a situation that’s so tough you find yourself standing facing it with tears. Begin to sing, not because you say, “Well, I guess I need to submit to this because God intended me to have this horrible event in my life.” But by the song, by the praise, we begin to infest the situation with the possibilities of His presence and His power. Rather than resigning the situation unto the best way we can muddle our way through it, or pry our way through it. … “We’ll just do the best that we can.” The best that you can make of it is not going to be very good. The best that He can make of it will be something that will bring the reason the Bible tells us to “in everything give thanks;” not because God foisted or worked this number on you to get even with you or somebody else, but because the Lord says, “Into the poison pollution of this planet, if praise is lifted up there will come the presence of My power. So lift up song because it invites God’s presence. Lift up praise.”
While I cannot find it within me to give thanks for everything, with God as my help and my strength, I can certainly thank Him in everything. And, when I turn my praise into song, I know the melody wafts its way to heaven and into the throne of the King. I am thankful that I can always praise God: I praise Him for being Jehovah-Tsidkenu, my Righteousness; I praise Him for being Adonai, my Lord; I praise God for being El Elyon, the most High God. And I am thankful for life, health, salvation, family, friends, church, my home and for having food on the table every day. I am thankful He has given me a desire to study His Word, the ability to write, and the longing to be in His presence.
As we enter another Thanksgiving season, may we lift our thanks to God, and may we remember to thank our family and friends for all they mean to us.
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