“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (Thessalonians 5:18, KJV)
Jesus set an example of thankfulness while he was on earth, and not a single one was for stuff. First, He gave thanks for the revelation of His purposes on earth, not to the worldly wise, but to the common man. (See Matthew 11:25). Second, He offered thanks for, not just the bread and wine for the Passover celebration, but for preparing His disciples for His crucifixion—His broken body and shed blood. Third, he offered thanksgivings for the loaves and fishes provided to feed the tired and hungry multitudes who followed to hear His words; words not just for the body but for the soul because He was their loaves and fish.
Do we give God credit for EVERY provision in our lives, or do we feel as if we deserve the credit for providing for ourselves? Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from our unchangeable Creator. (See James 1:17)
Some time during the holiday weekend find a quiet place in His presence, and make a list of all your blessings. Then list every thing that causes you suffering in any way. Now go back and carefully consider each one and ask yourself why this particular misery is upon you. Ask, “Have I disobeyed God’s Word? Do I need to learn a lesson? Can God be glorified in this circumstance?” The answer will always be one of the three, for God loves each one of us so much He will do what it takes to get us back into His perfect will once more. (See Psalm 139:23-24)
For several years I grieved deeply over the physical afflictions that have kept me isolated much of the time. Finally, after months of prayer and supplication for my healing, the Lord gave me these words. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71 (KJV). “The Lord God has given me the tongue(pen) of the learned, that I should know how to speak(write) a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning. He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.” (Isaiah 50:4). As I writer I must spend much time in meditation and solitude so I will always be prepared to fulfill my calling. “I want you to know, brethren, that the things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12).
Now I have peace of mind. God is in it all, and that is the best reason to be thankful.
(Originally published on November 9, 2009)