A Thanksgiving of Difficulties
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with Holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28 (NLT)
Â It seems our world and it’s many nations are fraught with difficulties and problems. Any quick glance of the news will immediately give rise to new concerns and possible fear. Perhaps though difficulties, problems, and the associated concerns and fears ring true for a greater but closer and personal issue for you as they do me. But yet even in the midst of all the difficulties we are to give thanks. In order to grasp this often conflicting message perhaps difficulties, problems, and concerns need viewing from a different perspective.
Can thanks be given by seeing things in a different way? In another week, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving. This federal holiday holds a long history and celebrations have officially been held since 1863. It was President Abraham Lincoln that proclaimed the national day of Thanksgiving and Praise during the American Civil War. This war’s list of casualties appeared to hold no end and our nation struggled for survival during this time. Both of these overwhelming thoughts seem to contradict giving thanks yet it was during a most difficult time that the need for giving thanks was officially recognized in this country.
Thanksgiving, itself, has a long history of showing up intensely though not in times of plenty but when difficulties abound. Even the historic Pilgrims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving did so with half their group number dead. The praise, however, they gave God was not for what He gave them but for who He is. This different perspective on praise continues to repeat itself. For the praise we are to offer is not for what we have but for who God is to us.
The Thanksgiving Perspective
It is said that Dr. William L. Stiger, pastor and teacher at Boston University’s School of Theology, during the 1929 depression, rallied a group of pastors to not dismiss lightly the traditional Thanksgiving service that year. The group initially wanted to just give mention to Thanksgiving and move on to a different topic. But Dr. Stiger convinced the group that this wasn’t the time to do that. He pointed out that instead this was the time for the nation to get matters into perspective and thank God for the blessings that are always present but often hard to see when the difficulties in life overwhelm us.
The ultimate blessing that is always present and stands above all else is our victory through Christ. It is because of Him that we hold eternal life in a never-ending and unshakable kingdom. This perspective begins by listening to the call of God. For when the difficulties arrive and the problems appear our focus on the thankfulness for the kingdom to come over the present place we reside gives us the strength to move forward.
A different perspective of thankfulnessÂ when difficulties pile up is not easy and most of the time appears irrational. However, when we place our faith in God knowing that He is in full control it allows us to be thankful to Him and praise can fully abound through the difficulties.
Learning to Offer Praise
An attitude of giving thanks to God for and in All circumstances doesn’t happen overnight. This is a daily practice that allows you to draw upon His strength through praise when the difficulties arise. It comes though in knowing that He promises to take care of all believers eternally. There are many ways to give thanks to God daily but if you need a quick reminder just remember PRAISE.
P – Prayers – God answers your prayers in such a way that is best for you.
R – Relationship ”“ You hold strength in your faith with fellow believers in your daily life.
A – Amazing – Whether the backyard or the world, the wonderful magnificence of God’s creations abounds.
I– Important – Â He meets the important provisions for your needs
S– Soothing – His blessings no matter how big or small bring soothing comfort
E– Everlasting Character ”“ God’s character is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be in the future.
A Daily Habit
As you move into a daily habit of thanksgiving you learn to build your reliance upon the one true God and the only one who deserves your praise. This practice allows you to praise God for more than just what you have but also for the future perfect life eternal to come. It secures your belief that God not only makes true on His promises but that He is in full control. Being thankful and recognizing all that God provides and what He promises for your future allows you to transition easier through the difficult times.
A daily practice of thanks allows for you to be thankful rather than bitter when challenging situations abound. Thankfulness provides motivation over discouragement and by recognizing your convictions or belief in Christ you see clearly where any abundance you hold derives from. Above it all though, the reward is the comfort foundÂ in knowing that ultimately God is in full control so offer your thanks and praise not just one day a year but daily.
Love in Christ,
The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.
Credits A&E Television Networks, LLC. (2016, November 16). Thanksgiving. Retrieved from History: http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you find it difficult to thank and praise God when difficulties arise? Have you found strength when you need it through the daily practice of praise? Join us in discussion on giving thanks and praise even when the world seems dim.