“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” (Psalm 107:21-22)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Seems like one day out of three-hundred and sixty-five isn’t nearly enough to set aside for being thankful and for acknowledging the One from whom all these gifts, including life itself, come. Nevertheless, that is what we have designated, one day. That day has come and gone and perhaps we have already turned our attention away from gratitude and set our sights on acquiring all that we feel we currently lack. Ironic isn’t it? The day after the day dedicated to being thankful for all we have, (Thanksgiving), is dedicated to shopping for more stuff! It would seem thankfulness has a short shelf life.
We would not want every day to be Christmas day – that would not be sustainable. But if every day were a day to be intentionally thankful, that wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. I am told to “sacrifice thank offerings to God” since He is the giver of “every good and perfect gift.” And I am told to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
Maybe this was an especially difficult Thanksgiving for some of you? Changes in circumstances, job losses, personal losses etc. – these have been more than challenging times. I think Habakkuk understood what it was to experience circumstances that did not lead one toward thankfulness. And yet he intentionally declared his intentions with these beautiful words,
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Habakkuk, this Old Testament prophet, was definitely following the New Testament direction to give thanks to God in all circumstances. Maybe some of us feel like Habakkuk this Thanksgiving – our outlook is pretty bleak at the moment. Habakkuk’s present and future looked grim, yet he continued to rejoice in and be joyful in God his Savior.
When times are tough, I think of Habakkuk and attempt to follow his example of trusting God and being thankful in all circumstances. I will make every day a day of Thanksgiving by following the words of an old hymn which says,
“count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done, count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
sincerely, Grace Day