The other day, my beautiful bracelet, a gift from my hubby broke. I placed it in a small Ziplock bag and tossed it in my purse. Days later, we headed to the jeweler. Where is that bracelet? That purse of mine must have turned into a black hole. Hundreds of items crowded together. Finding that piece of jewelry required digging and digging until the only way was to empty all contents. All items strewn on the bed and voila! There it was.
We might all have to do the same this Thanksgiving, in the black hole where so much has piled up—uncertainty, anger, frustration and discouragement. We need to dig through it all to find something good for which to be grateful.
But thanking God only for good things reflects man’s limited approach. God has a different directive. His Word says: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).
Pray continually? Yes. Rejoice always? We can try. But…gulp…give thanks in all circumstances, really, Lord? We’re willing to give thanks for all the blessings. For victories. And for answered prayers.
But when facing the evil of this world, how can “thanks” slip from our lips? That’s a human question answered in His spiritual way. God says to thank Him, truly thank Him for the sad, bad and ugly.
And when we persevere and express gratitude, a powerful thing happens—the enemy flees. He doesn’t lurk around when our lips, heart and soul are praising and thanking the Lord. Free from the enemy’s lure, our focus changes, our attention turns to the Lord, we recognize His goodness in bad times. His grace in an ugly world. And His way to heal the wounds that ache.
I learned that first hand when the trials of my life turned to triumph. With each devastating episode, I wiped tears and thanked God.
Eventually all tears dried. Now I’m grateful for my blindness, for it taught me to see the beauty of God’s love. I’m thankful for His comfort when my son was tragically killed. I give thanks for the acquittal of the man responsible because it showed me the freedom that forgiveness brings. When my marriage ended after 42 years, I thanked God that He showed me He and only He can make me whole.
My favorite recipe.
That’s why this thanksgiving dinner will include my favorite recipe. I don’t mind a bit if you choose to copy it and serve it at your every meal.
- Gather the ingredients stored in the cabinet of God’s Word.
- Stir together large portions of His promises, cups of His direction, and dashes of His admonitions.
- Place in large bowl several cups of commitment to read His Word.
- Add generous amounts of faith, making sure all traces of doubt are covered.
- Blend together; adding sprinkles of laughter, fun moments, and unexpected surprises.
- Bake in the oven of your heart till triumph is golden brown.
- With songs of thanksgiving playing in the background, present it to the guests who come into your life.
And, unlike the rest of the world, instead of entering through the doors to stress, gloom or anxiety, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4 NIV).
Why? “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).
Father, it’s the forever part that echoes hope in my heart. I don’t have to dig for reasons to thank You. Rather, I live rejoicing as I sit at the banquet where You serve large portions of Your love that satisfies the hunger of my soul. In Jesus’ name I thank You.
What is your level of gratitude today?
Janet Perez Eckles