As we prepare to celebrate with friends and family during this season of Thanksgiving, it should also be a time of reflection and praise. Each of us has reasons and opportunities to emerge into giving thanks – not just on Thanksgiving, but each day of the year.
You’ve probably seen the quote, ‘I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I would not have stumbled across my strength.’ Too often, we place limits on what we think God is able to do in our lives. Moreover, some of us attach giving thanks to tangible things such as blessings of money, people or possessions. However, those of us that have experienced God’s goodness or deliverance, passed through valleys, survived trials and tribulation, and made it through ‘on the other side,’ are thankful just to be alive to see another day! It’s unfortunate that sometimes it takes experiencing and overcoming valleys in our lives to really appreciate the ‘mountaintop’ experiences – the joy, peace, comfort and faith that God’s got you!
This month, as we emerge into giving thanks, it’s important to remember that we should not let anything or anyone break our spirit or rob us of our joy. Our life is greater than our successes, failures or trials. For far too many, contentment is an elusive commodity because we are so busy seeking more or greater. It is not God’s desire to hold any good thing from us, but those of us that are parents understand that you can’t give a child everything he or she wants. We would not allow a six-year-old to drive our car just because he wants to, would we? It’s the same with Christ – sometimes He withholds things from us for our good or because He knows we are not ready for it.
God’s love for us is unconditional and He desires for us to operate out of that same agape love. We can’t or should not put restrictions on how, why or when we give thanks. Each morning and throughout the day, we should be thankful that we are alive, while basking in the knowledge that God loves us – even if nobody else does! We can be thankful – even if our circumstances are not as we would like – because we have the freedom to change them or pursue something different. If we can’t change our circumstances, we still have the ability to change our response.
How will you emerge into giving thanks?
Peace and power.
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,