Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? I mean besides setting aside a special day to be with family and friends and all the amazing food, even all the weeks leading up to this day fill me with gratitude. I know I should be filled with this same thanksgiving spirit every day of the year, but I’m thankful for this, not-so-subtle reminder that we have so much to be thankful for, so much to praise God for.
Let’s be honest. There are many seasons of life that are just hard. So many days that feel exhausting. Overwhelming. In those times I too quickly disregard thankfulness. During this thanksgiving season I’ve been reminded over and over that God is the same no matter our circumstances. He deserves my praise and my thanks not just for the “things” he blesses me with or for the things he teaches me through hardship but he deserves my thanksgiving just because He is God! That’s it. He is good! He is faithful. Always. It’s a promise. And because of that I should shout His praise forever.
One of my favorite devotional books is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. In it she writes a daily note as if it’s written from Jesus right to you. I wanted to share some of it with you. Read it as if Jesus is talking to you.
“Dear _____ (fill in your name), Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience—at times, blind obedience. To people who don’t know Me intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Me for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.
Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity.”
Psalm 7:17, “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness….”
Psalm 107:8, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”
1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
As we read through these verses notice the thread flowing through all of them about why we give thanks to God:
Because of His righteousness.
Because He’s good.
For His unfailing love.
Because of the victory we have through Jesus!
The bottom line: it’s not about the exact things on our ‘thankful list’ but it’s about the attitude of our heart as we give those things back to the Lord. As we tell Him how grateful we are for HIM. For His goodness to us. For His Victory. For His grace. For His unfailing love. In any and every circumstance, He is the same. Even if we’re not.
Then, through those prayers of thanksgiving come a change in our heart.
Through that heart change and a spirit of thanksgiving, we’re able to see all the other “things” as such huge blessings from God.
Then, there’s almost nothing else to do except shout praises to God for all the “things” He’s given us! We’ll be able to notice more of those little blessings throughout the day. And realize He doesn’t give them as a reward or because we did anything to deserve them, but just simply because He loves us.
So, as we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for today, I pray we would truly be able to see the good of our great God. That we could give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18) regardless of our feelings but because of the promise of His righteousness.
Ephesians 5:20, “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Happy Thanksgiving from Valley Women’s Ministry!
Elizabeth Mason has been a part of Valley MOPs since moving to Des Moines in 2012. She is the mom of two girls, Reese (6) and Lucy (almost 3) and the biggest cheerleader for her husband of eight years, Mark, who is a Surgery Resident at Methodist Hospital downtown. Despite the crazy cold winters, the Mason family has enjoyed their transition from Texas to Iowa. And they’re especially thankful for what God has done for them through Valley Church.