I chuckle when I see or hear the phrase, “It’s the time of year to be thankful.”
Of course we should be thankful all year-long, but with Thanksgiving around the corner our focus bends towards being thankful more than other times of the year. As Black Friday sales press in on us from every side concentrating on thankfulness brings into focus what we have more than what we have not.
I’m wondering, though. Does your thankfulness ever come reluctantly?
We are human and our lives are sometimes laced with circumstances where it isn’t always easy to be thankful. Our family’s festivities will be mixed with sadness as we are without a very special uncle who went to Heaven earlier this year. Maybe you face a similar situation or something even more difficult.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The apostle Paul encourages us to
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
That’s a pretty tall order!
In fact it’s easy for me to read this and see it as impossible. How can people be happy all the time and never grumble about circumstances we are in? If I don’t always rejoice and pray or have trouble giving thanks am I outside of God’s will for my life?
Let’s look at this verse with perspective.
I believe God doesn’t ask us to be thankful for all circumstances, but as the verse says, be thankful in all circumstances.The reality is that it is difficult to be thankful for some things. God knows this. However in the midst of the difficulty we always have something worthy of thanks.
This request is much easier when we follow what precedes the instruction…pray continually. When we pray and put ourselves in God’s hands we will find a strength we didn’t know we had and joy hiding in unexpected places.
If your thankfulness comes reluctantly this year, or if you’re struggling to be thankful at all, please be encouraged and seek God’s strength to get you through. If you need some earthly encouragement please let me know. I would be honored to stand with you in prayer.
Would you have a story of thankfulness to share with us today? We would be encouraged by the experiences of others.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and peace, and blessings galore.