While planning and preparing the Thanksgiving meal for our family, I realize not everyone will eat everything that is served. That is OK because everyone is allowed to have their likes and dislikes regarding food. I also know that everyone will still have thankful hearts whether or not they help themselves to every dish. I wonder if this is not true for us spiritually as well. God prepares many types of food and experiences that are placed before us on our table of life. We may not like the taste of every situation we encounter but these are still things for which we are to be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Let’s develop a thankfulness in our hearts as we look at this verse from two different perspectives.
First, Paul tells us in this verse to give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. Even though we walk through difficult situations in our lives, we are to keep a perspective of thankfulness. It helps us get though tough times when we remember who God is and that He is with us. We can be thankful for this fact. The assurance of the Lord’s presence is recorded in early times of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Another way to look at the concept of thankfulness in all circumstances is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This is harder to understand but I think it has some validity. Our testimony of how the Lord helps us through difficult times can be an encouragement to others who are struggling. God does not CAUSE these difficulties but He can USE them if we allow Him to do so. We never know how or when He will be able to use our not so pleasant crises for the benefit of others as well as for ourselves.
My Readers, take time to give thanks, especially on Thanksgiving Day. I encourage you to not forget the difficult times you have experienced. It is OK that you may not have liked everything that has happened but you can be thankful for the Lord’s presence with you through the good and the bad and the miraculous. The turkey on your banquet table may look as delicious to you as the joy you feel for your job that provides financial security for your family or you may feel stuffed with unpaid bills. You can still be thankful for God being Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider, because He will provide in some way that may yet be unknown. We all know that we should eat our vegetables. Some of us may eat the green bean casserole with thankfulness for health while another person is served a helping of a different vegetable. The person sitting next to you may feel squashed by upcoming surgery or cancer treatments. When it comes to the type of potatoes, one person at your table may feel sweet by the presence of a newborn baby while another person may feel their thankfulness mashed by the empty chair at the table since a family member has passed on to be with the Lord. As a relish plate is passed, some may identify with the sour dill pickles while others may like the crispness of a carrot stick. Likes and dislikes will abound around the table. However, I presume everyone will like dessert. The final course of the meal ends with a tantalizing tastiness. The final bit of physical hunger can be filled with a sugary treat while the spiritual hunger can be satisfied with thankfulness. I want to offer each of My Readers an ample piece of Thanksgiving pie in the form of scripture cut from the Biblical pie. It is my prayer that you will thankfully chew and meditate upon who God is within your life on Thanksgiving Day.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
I Chronicles 16:34
I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good; His love endures forever.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
to God the Father through Him.