“In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:18
Let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t been what we hoped it would be when the clock struck midnight that last day in December. We all shouted “Happy New Year” while we hugged and kissed those who were there to ring in the new year. No bubbles, no restricted numbers, no lockdowns! Who would have imagined such a thing? I know my mind couldn’t even fathom the thought had someone pre-warned me! I think I would have taken a rain check on 2020! Or maybe skipped it altogether.
In Thessalonians, Paul is telling the church to be thankful in every situation – no matter what the circumstances are. Looking back to March month, when life as we knew it took a sudden change and what was once normal became abnormal, I have to confess, I did not give thanks! It almost seemed laughable to be thankful. It seemed easier to complain and focus on the negative turn of events, rather than trying to see good. We were bombarded with news, constant changes and a new way of life that nobody wanted to embrace. Trying to give thanks during those moments seemed nearly impossible. However, it’s during the most difficult times that we should give thanks and praise! A grateful heart is a thankful heart and a heart that is full of gratitude is not one dependent on circumstances to give thanks. When we begin a day giving thanks, our eyes are quickly turned from our circumstances and fixed on the goodness in our lives. There is always, always something to be thankful for!
Gratitude is about appreciating what one has, while thankfulness is appreciating what’s given. It doesn’t take much to have gratitude; just take a look around. Our gratitude can be lost if we choose to focus on the things we don’t have rather than the things we do have.
Wanting a heart of gratitude begins with a focus shift. When I feel overwhelmed by the weight of life, my focus becomes all about ME and all MY problems. I tend to focus on all the things that are wrong or have gone wrong. The moment I shift my focus to praise and thanksgiving, the weight of a burdened heart is immediately lifted. There are scriptures that I run to, reflect on and have hidden in my heart.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.1 Chronicles 16:34
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].Philippians 4:6-7 AMP
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23 AMP
God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.Psalm 46:1
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.James 1:17
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
On this Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks with a grateful heart. May our hearts overflow with joy as we thank Him for all He is, all He does and most of all, for His love that will endure forever!