Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder"1 (Lyrics)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Thanking God in every circumstance is challenging — some might say impossible.
I'm a nostalgic kind of guy. In my mind's eye, I can imagine myself sitting at a table with the early Pilgrims and their Indian neighbours who had shown them where to hunt and fish and how to plant. They had made it through a long winter, planted their crops, and reaped a bountiful harvest. They thanked God, but also their Indian neighbours.
Fast forward about four hundred years, and here I am, wishing that I could thank God in a similar fashion with my parents, children, and grandchildren all gathered around a table. But our family has been torn by deaths, divorces, and remarriages, which have increased and decreased the number of parents and grandparents — along with the houses that the family members need to get to during the holiday season. Adding health complications and distance multiplies the challenges. Though my wife tries her best to get them all to our house on Thanksgiving Day, she never succeeds.
Even though the Thanksgiving celebration doesn't look as I want it to, I can still be thankful — in all circumstances — and for quite an impressive list of things.
I'm thankful for family. Although they don't always act as I wish, I'm proud of my family and thankful that God has blessed me with children, grandchildren, and Christian parents.
I'm thankful for friends. The person who has several people in a lifetime who will stick with them through thick and thin is fortunate. Moving around so much has made this challenging for me, but I can still find several people on whom I could call if I needed them.
Worshipping a forgiving God makes me thankful. Through Christ, all my sins are forgiven — past, present, and future. He has removed my condemnation and given me Christ's righteousness.
Believing that God has a purpose for my life makes me thankful. He says that He has plans for me, that they are good, and that He wants me to prosper. I don't have to trudge through life; I can enjoy every moment.
Knowing that God has the power to redeem any and every situation also makes me thankful. The frustrating situations that I encounter and the suffering that I endure are redeemed by God's sovereign power. He brings good from bad and orchestrates events in amazing ways.
This Thanksgiving season and always, let us give thanks to God.
Prayer: Father, give us the mindset to thank You in all seasons of the year and during all seasons of our lives. Amen.