There have been a lot of changes in my life this past year – some good, some bad, some a little of both – but I am thankful for all of it. Many people are familiar with the verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:18:
Hard to rejoice ALWAYS.
Hard to pray without CEASING.
But it’s especially hard to give thanks in ALL circumstances.
Because some just don’t make sense, aren’t fair, or bring such immeasurable pain.
We tend to only pay attention to those parts of the verse though, and forget about the last part:
For this is the will of Christ Jesus in you.
We don’t rejoice always, or pray at all times, or even give thanks in every little nit-picky thing because it feels good or because we want to, we do it because God commands us. Because He’s at work in us. In those very circumstances. And if we give our thanks in the middle of all of it, somehow, it becomes easier to bear, because we’re not bearing it.
This morning, I was reading Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation (as always, I stand in awe of how he could convey so much with so few words!) and couldn’t help but be humbled by the unyielding gratitude he had for God’s steadfastness and providence not only in the nation, but surely his own life as well. Lincoln’s personal life was not without great tragedy and sorrow. He had challenges above and beyond what most of us deal with in our lives, yet he recognized that he/we were blessed. He understood that in spite of – and because of – His mercies we need to continually recognize from whom those blessings flow.
…To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy….
I read something on a friend’s Facebookpost today that summed it up for me: “God gives us all things, and there is a difference in being thankful and giving thanks (what today is set aside for). The first is an emotional thing, the second is an act of obedience toward God who gives all to me.”
On this day – and every day – because God so loved me, I have every reason to give thanks.
God Bless you and yours, and may this be a day full of laughter, gratefulness and true Thanksgiving.