Thanksgiving Is Coming
Thanksgiving is coming. Really, is it, for you? Gratitude has everything to do with one presupposition, the precursor and interpreter of every circumstance in your life. David, in the midst of terrible turmoil, a real mess of a life, builds the interpretation of his circumstance on this robust presupposition: “This I know, God is for me (Ps56.10).” All realities follow filter through that fact, knowing God has delivered his soul from death, eternally changing his lot (vs13). God is both sovereign and good. Yet, we still question.
Let our questioning collide with the reality of how God has rescued our souls. It’s not just that God has changed our eternal lot, moving us from death to life, dispensing on us His love rather than His wrath; it’s how He did it. How He changed our lot gives us the faith to say: “Yes, even in this, my mess of a life, God is for me.”
It must have looked a mess, a total debacle, to see Jesus walk through the last week of His life ending in His capture and crucifixion. God could not have been for Jesus. God could not have been working anything good in this horror. Yet, the Father was, and is sovereignly right in the thick of this good plan to bring glorification to His Son and redemption to us, in the chaos of His broken world.
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection proves that, yes, even in the areas of your life where God looks to have left you for naught, or is impotently overcome by evil, He is powerfully present. So, give thanks. He is working His good plan to make you just like His son, unveil Himself in the world, and deliver souls from death. You are His child, with whom He is well pleased, and you are written into the story, the redemption of all things.
These seven reasons to give thanks flow from the Psalms, where David praises God repetitiously in and around all kinds of circumstances (Psalm 7, 9, 26, 28, 33, 52, 56, 44, 52, 69, 75, 86, 92, 95, 97, 100, 105, 111, 116, 118, 131, 136, 147). May this simple list spur our hearts to gratitude, as we remember: God is for us (May this past Sunday’s sermon on Psalm 56 also help spur our hearts to gratitude).
7 Reasons To Give Thanks
1. Give thanks for the fruit. God uses the explicitly good and covertly good things in life to shape us in Christ likeness, therefore increasing our joy in obedience. The broken, missing, unjust things in your life are being redeemed. What character is He shaping in you?
2. Give thanks for the presence of God. He is with you. How is He showing up in the circumstance, increasing your dependence and connection with Himself? While He may not remove a given hardship, He will never cease to be your sustaining presence.
3. Give thanks for not having to be God. We are not responsible for working out every situation, manipulating every outcome, as we are not God. We must simply seek Him and remain faithful to Him. How is He revealing your insufficiency, and showing His sufficiency? He can handle our honest sorrow and questioning. Be transparent with Him, while also giving Him thanks.
4. Give thanks for other specific tangible things. Where our eyes settle, will increase our gratitude or our displeasure. Though some things are broken or withheld in your life, so many things are the overt blessing and evidence of His abundant provision. Thank Him for these things.
5. Give thanks for God’s self-revealing. You will get to see how He works it all out, and praise Him for it. This might not come to fruition until He makes all things right at the end of time, or as you enjoy Him eternally in heaven. Or it might happen next week. God will also use every piece of the brokenness to reveal Himself to others. We might never know those who have come to know Christ by watching Him in the circumstances of our lives.
6. Give thanks for His unknown graces. We might not have written certain things into our stories. However, we have no idea the multitude of hardships He has graciously withheld from our lives. From what He has mercifully spared us, we will never know.
7. Give thanks for a day when things will no longer be the way they are. A day is coming when all will be made right, every tear dried and every sorrow turned to joy. That glorious day will greatly outlast and overshadow the momentary trial we currently endure.