In the difficulties of life, it can be hard to be thankful.
If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that most of us are not very good at being thankful at any time. There is always another “need” to be met (we put “need” in quotes because most of us don’t actually need anything most of the time).
We are not unique in this tendency. Israel struggled with this very thing during the exodus. God would provide water for them one day, and they were complaining the next day that they only had manna to eat.
When things are going well, we tend to get lazy. We might be thankful at first, but eventually we begin to take the goodness for granted and lose our thankful hearts. In harder times, we tend to focus on getting out of the problem we are in, and neglect to be thankful for the blessings we do have in the midst of the difficulty.
So what about when life is really hard? When it seems that the “noise” from the difficulty is drowning out nearly everything else, and stress and anxiety reign in our hearts and minds?
Face the onslaught with thanksgiving.
Begin by thanking God for the breath you just took. He has given you life. It is a gift. Then thank him for your spiritual life – your salvation. It, too, is a gift – one that is precious, costly, and eternal.
Follow that thanksgiving with gratefulness for other basic gifts – the creation around you, your senses, food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter.
If you live in a country where you can worship freely, be thankful for that! Health, energy, and employment might be things you can thank God for. Make your own list. Pray it often.
Thanking God is only one way to be thankful. When was the last time you thanked your parents? What about your restaurant server (and proved your words with a good tip!)? Have you thanked police, fire, or military personnel for their service to you and this country? Have you ever thought to thank your pastor for shepherding you and the other people in your church?
As you make thankfulness your lifestyle, you will find that navigating through difficult times, though still hard, is not as disheartening as before. Thankfulness will always displace being disheartened.
Thank you for reading this post. Happy Thanksgiving!