Note: This is a repost, but the message hasn’t changed! It’s easy to be thankful when things are good, when we have plenty and when circumstances are going in our favor. The real test is when life seems to be dealing blow after blow. But what I have experienced, and am slowly learning, is that being thankful in ALL not only makes the challenging times more bearable, it shifts my focus away from the issue at hand, and opens my heart and eyes to the greater purpose and blessing that God has for me. On this Thanksgiving, I pray to be thankful and joyful in all things – and that is my prayer for you as well. Blessings.
A Thankful Heart
Thankful: conscious of benefit received (source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
To express thankfulness requires us to realize that something has been done for our benefit, on our behalf.
Its Thanksgiving, and our “thankfulness radar” is heightened. We pause to reflect on the many blessings in our lives. That is a good thing. It’s only right to consciously acknowledge those things in our lives for which we are grateful.
But, what about those things in life that are hard? Can we be thankful for them, too? I say yes. Not because it’s something I want or prefer, but because the Bible tells us to, for a reason.
“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)
Paul’s letter doesn’t say to give thanks for some things or for the good things.” He tells us to give thanks for everything.
Being thankful, to me, means that my perspective is on a higher level than the everyday circumstances in my life. It means that I can see beyond what is happening in the moment and recognize that God is at work, using it, and all my circumstances for good in the end.
When I think back on the past few years, I can trace a path of God’s hand in my life. He was there through some really hard times. As I reflect on them, I can honestly thank Him for those times. Because not only did I grow closer to Him, I learned what it really means to be obedient. I learned that even in the good times, the only true, steady thing I can count on is Him.
It makes me begin to see the blessings in life like ornaments on a Christmas tree – they are nice additions; appreciated, cherished and enjoyable, but not necessary for the tree to survive. If I can begin to see the blessings in my life in that light, I will appreciate and cherish them, but not need them more than I need Jesus.
What I am most thankful for is that He chose to come to Earth and die in my place in order for me to have a place to call home for eternity, with Him. There’s nothing, no blessing or circumstance here that could compare with that.
And that, is, as the dictionary puts it, the “benefit received” of all benefits received.