As my husband, son and I prepare to host Thanksgiving, this writer turns into a wannabe chef. However, our table is not as thick with family as it used to be.
Both of my parents are spending Thanksgiving with Jesus. A few days ago, my brother (in law), Gerard, took a seat at heaven’s table. Memories of my loved ones bring comfort. And yet, my heart aches because I miss them all.
But God is good. And the miracle of His grace reminds me to,
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
However, all circumstances are not a welcome sight. In fact, there are some I would love to avoid completely.
Is there a struggle stalling your thankfulness? I wouldn’t have to think long to find one. But griping blocks my gratitude. Regardless of our circumstances, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 directs those who belong to Christ to think differently.
Biblically, gratitude is more than what we feel.
It’s about what we believe.
Thankfulness for my eternal reality carries me through the most difficult times here on earth. It places me firmly in the most crucial place – the will of God. Apparently, our gratitude goes a long way. Here’s the length of mine.
Long before I faced sin’s penalty, God made provision through Christ.
But God showed His love to us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Long before I knew my life had a purpose, God had a plan.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Long before I had a problem, God made a promise.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
The provision is enough. The plan is good. The promise is sure.
Circumstances alone may cause delight or dismay. But in light of God’s provision, plan and promises, thankfulness begins to swell and freedom begins to form. I can count my blessings. I can grieve losses. I can consider future hopes and dreams.
In Christ, all these inclinations converge at the point of His grace. It is the place where my emotions and my experiences are eclipsed by Who He is. Let’s rest there a moment together.
His goodness comes to my mind. What about Him comes to yours?
As I prepare a special meal for my family, a recipe for contentment stirs within my heart. I’m thankful for the blessings that surround my life and the situations that test my faith. They each teach me something about the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
I pray your blessings outweigh your burdens. But if it feels like that’s not the case, may you know the power of 1 Thessalonians 5:18. When we find the smallest of things to be grateful for, we find hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
*All Scriptural references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)