"At ALL times and for EVERYTHING, giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father”. (Emphasis mine) Ephesians 5:10 AMP
It's very easy to celebrate and bust out in songs when good things come our way, it's easy to be thankful when times are great, but true thanksgiving goes beyond just grooving to drum beats. Of course I’m not saying it’s wrong to dance and just go crazy in the presence of The Father, but our offering of thanks to God must not just end with the physical exertion every Sunday, our hearts must be truly thankful and lifted to God in praise. Praise God for the great times, for the good times, the not-so-good times, and the downright ugly times. God commands us again in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks no matter the circumstance, because it is the will of God for us.
Some people bring thanksgiving to a whole new level for me, people like: David, hiding in caves, trying to get as far away from Saul (who wanted him dead) as he possibly could, he still had time to reflect deeply on God’s goodness, and he said: “My heart is fixed O God, my heart is steadfast and confident! I will sing and make melody.” (Psalms 57:7).
Or take a look at Job; he lost everything he had, all he had ever worked for in just one day, and in quick succession. A servant was telling him about the loss of his oxen and donkeys when another messenger came in with the news of the burnt sheep and servants. Enter another with the grim story of how raiding parties swept away all his camels and put his servants to the sword, but wait, it’s not over. While the last servant was still speaking another one entered and told him that all his children were dead! What would you do in a situation like that? I don’t even want to think about what I would have done. But do you know what Job did? “…Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised”. Doesn’t that just make you think a little deeper?
International author Mathew Henry was accosted by thieves and robbed of his purse and he wrote:
“Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third although they took my all, it was not much; and fourthly, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed”.
I once witnessed a young woman paying her last respects to her husband who died of an illness at a young age. As she poured sand from the shovel onto the coffin that was already lowered, she was shouting: “Lord, I thank you! Jehovah you are worthy!” I could see the tears in her eyes, and believe me, I thought she was crazy at first, but then, that’s when I remembered: “in all things, give thanks”. The meaning of those words didn’t really sink in until that time.
How many of us can gladly say: “Lord, I thank you because I had a terrible day”? Or Lord I thank you because my heart is breaking”? You see, the hardest part is seeing a reason to be thankful when everything is upside down. When you decide that even if there seems to be no reason, you will give thanks and be grateful from your heart, the rest is easy. All you have to do is start by saying: “Lord I thank you because these past months have been rough” and the rest will flow out of the sincerity of your heart. You may hear yourself say: “Lord I thank you because these past few months have been rough, but I trust in your grace that tomorrow will be better”. “Lord I thank you because my heart is breaking, but I know that your love will put me back together”.
My point? A truly thankful heart does not praise only when times are smooth and thinks are going according to plan. A thankful heart is lifted in praise AT ALL TIMES and for EVERYTHING.
I’ll conclude with the words of Mary Morristey: “It’s easy to feel grateful when we receive a raise, meet the love of our life, watch our children succeed. But spiritual gratitude is not circumstantial. It arises from a true knowing that God is our source. We feel thankful everyday, even in the midst of life’s challenges”.