“Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” – Psalm 107:8-9.
Are you thankful no matter what? Perhaps you have lost your job recently, as the economy has continued to struggle. Or you may have lost your health or a loved one. Such circumstances can be tremendously difficult. But even so, can we find joy and be thankful for all we have been given by God. Paul is an example of somebody who could be discouraged, even bitter.
Put yourself in Paul’s shoes: The next footsteps in the corridor might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone floor of his prison cell. The irritation and the pain of his chains were his constant companion. Isolated, unjustly accused, brutally treated—if ever a person had a right to complain, it was Paul, languishing almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his words spoke of praise and thanksgiving. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, “ singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)
Thanksgiving for the Apostle Paul was not a once-a-year celebration, but a daily reality that changed his life enabling him to find joy in every circumstance. Being grateful to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ, especially in times of trial. Even when facing negative circumstances, we can thank God, because we know that He has promised to be with us and that He will help us. We know that He can use times of suffering to draw us closer to Himself: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:2-3)
When the prophet Daniel learned that evil men were plotting against him to destroy him, “he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” (Daniel 6:10) Paul declared, “always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.” (Colossians 1:12)
God has given us the greatest Gift of all—His Son, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven. “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).
- How does one be thankful for all God has done on a daily basis?
- What can we do this week to have an attitude of gratitude to God?