Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I love Thanksgiving. I love the family gatherings and the food and the laughter and the photos and the traditions and all the leftovers. I love having a long weekend to enjoy with loved ones. I love the fact that Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and I love knowing colder weather isn’t far off (a brief and much-awaited respite in Florida).
I love that Thanksgiving reminds us to be thankful. Typically at Thanksgiving we express gratitude for our bounty as we enjoy American gluttony at its finest. But as time slips away, God is increasingly convicting me of the importance of being thankful in even the ordinary and the hard things.
I find myself taking so much for granted—salvation, family, another day of life, health, provision, safety, friendships, the beauty of nature, laughter and love. These are good and perfect gifts from God. They are meant to be enjoyed and appreciated. For these things I give thanks daily.
Sometimes—in times of grief or times of searching or times of need—it’s difficult to be thankful. But our hurts and needs and questions all fall under that all-encompassing category of “everything” for which we are to give thanks.
Our grief reminds us we have loved deeply, and that is a gift from God that some never get to enjoy fully. And our grief draws us to the God of all comfort, who alone is able to bind up the wounds of our broken hearts and fully restore us.
Our need reminds us of every other need we have put before Jehovah Jireh, who will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. He has always been faithful, and He will always be faithful, even when we are faithless.
If you are alive, you have reason to be grateful, because God is the author of life. If you have loved or are loved, be grateful, because God is love and has revealed Himself to you in that love. If you have wealth, be grateful, because your provision comes from God. If you have need, be grateful, because your provision will come from God.
As you reflect on Thanksgiving, remember this: You are precious in His sight. You are loved. You are blessed. And if your faith is in Christ Jesus, you are forever His. He knows you intimately and loves you anyway. He desires the very best for you so He may be glorified in and through you. And in all this, give thanks.
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.—Ephesians 1:15-23