"Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
An Act of Obedience
Thankfulness is an act of obedience. It isn't always easy, but it's always necessary.
Many may wonder, "How do you give thanks to a God who has allowed bad things to happen to you in your lifetime? How can this God really be a good God? How could you praise Him in all of this? How are you not bitter? How do you still find joy? How do you still have Hope?"
Thanksgiving is a choice. We can choose to be grateful or ungrateful in every situation. It is only through this choice that we will see Christ clearly. When we give thanks we are saying we trust God in His Sovereignty to do for Him what is best for the Kingdom of Heaven. Negativism, on the other hand, can cloud the Joy He has given us, causing us not to see clearly the blessing that surrounds us. In fact, it can cause us to harbor darkness and become bitter, shading any glimpse of His Glory, growing cold to the touch and hardening the heart. But in thanks we bring warmth to our thoughts and conversations, allowing the light of Christ to break through the darkness. When we are invested in something, it may seem easier to pick at the problems instead of see the good that God is doing there, but when we look for the good or trust He who is Good, thanksgiving will flow from our hearts and Joy will pour from our being like a ray of sunshine through a storm cloud.
As Jesus was heading into the day of His crucifixion He didn't condemn God for giving Him a human body and human blood, making Him suffer for our sins, no, instead He gave thanks for both, knowing that good, "the salvation of all" would come through it. You see, through the trials good will come to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
A Reminder to be Thankful
With Thanksgiving Day upon us next week, we should remember we are truly thankful for.
I challenge you to write down the top 20 things that you are thankful for. Here are mine:
- A supportive husband
- 5 precious babies
- Salvation and Hope in Christ
- My family
- My friends
- God's Word
- Lakeland Christian
- The ability to physically and spiritually run
- The opportunity to pour into youth
- Reminders and memories of Hayden
- Freedom in Christ
- The Season of Christmas
- God's Provisions
- God's timing
- Strength of the Lord
- Peace that Transcends all Understanding
- Joy and the Gift of a Smile
And the list could go on and on.
With each thought of thankfulness, I'm lead straight to God, to His Word, and to His Peace. Even in the rough moments and the times of uncertainty and trials, God leads me to His feet, to give thanks to Him for He is good and His love endures forever.
As I think on my number 7, I also give thanks to the Lord for you, my Lakeland Christian family. For you accepted my family into your community with open arms. The teachers have taught my children with passion, vividly weeping, as they spoke of Christ and the cross. The staff have stood arm in arm as they sing over our hurting family. You all have loved not just with your words but with your actions as well. When my children are at school, I don't worry about their safety or about what they are being taught, I know they are loved and in the hands of faculty and staff called by God to tend His sheep. At Lakeland Christian School I trust that my children are being educated in the light of God's Word to equip them for a lifetime of learning, leadership, service, and worship. For who knows what God has planned for them or for me. However, I do know this, at Thanksgiving, as I gather around the table with my family, I will give thanks to God for many things, and one of the main things will be you, my Lakeland Christian Family.
Kristen Hitchcock serves as the Associate Director of Advancement. You can reach her at email@example.com.