Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving… Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:14-15 ESV)
The Bible talks often about the importance of a thankful spirit. Being of a cautious (and pessimistic) nature, I find it difficult to see the brighter side of things. It is easier for many like me to find a dark cloud hovering over every horizon, than the silver lining.
Thankfully, I have known many Christians – my sister and other close friends – who are thankful for every benefit in their lives and I have been encouraged to follow their example – for obvious reasons. Their days are sunnier, they laugh more and while they have much the same troubles as everyone else, they remain undaunted. They also seem to have an endless string of victories to celebrate.
In Psalm 136, the psalmist celebrates God’s faithfulness throughout their history. As each act of God on their behalf is remembered, there follows a song of thanksgiving. “Give thanks to the God for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever! (vs. 1)
There is much power when God’s people remember to thank Him despite the troubles or dangers surrounding their lives. Psalm 50 reminds us that a sacrifice of thanksgiving honours God and actually opens the way for Him to work on our behalf (vs. 23).
When a vast army came against Judah, King Jehoshaphat decided to send the temple choir at the head of his army singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” When they arrived at the battlefield, they found that their enemies had destroyed each other; and they spent 3 days just collecting the plunder! (2 Chronicles 20)
Remember that God is good! Sometimes it takes real effort and practice – and it does seem like a sacrifice at times – to deliberately move our thoughts from the routine of daily living, or the crushing difficulties that may come our way, to the faithfulness of God. But when we choose to thank God, deliverance, joy and victory follow.
So I am not quite there yet, but I have begun my journey. Each morning, I try to thank God for His goodness, and when an anxious thought comes in, I try to remember that every problem is easy for God to solve, and He is happy to help. His love and wisdom are available to me; and even where I may get things wrong, God’s hand is not ‘too short to save’. Most of all, He is worthy of endless thanksgiving.
“Fill thou my life O Lord My God
In every part with thanks
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.”
Father, like the hymn writer, I pray for the grace to live a life filled with thanks. I thank You for Your abundant love and goodness in my life. Forgive me for all the times I have been ungrateful and forgetful of Your kindness. I commit every problem into Your hands, remembering Your past deliverance in my life. How blest we are to serve You. Teach me to always be thankful. In Jesus’ name.