The people of the United States of America have celebrated Thanksgiving ever since it was set aside as a day of Thanksgiving by the Pilgrims in October of 1621. Almost 400 years later our traditional Turkey Day with the celebration of football games and Black Friday sales is a far cry from the original intent of giving thanks to God for His bountiful blessings and provisions of food, shelter, and for sustaining life.
The heart of the question remains, is Thanksgiving simply a one day event where we give thanks for the turkey at our table and for the family gathered there, or is it an every day…never ceasing, giving of thanks in all things even when your day is down and out and you are having a real turkey of a day, to say the least?
From the beginning of our Christian walk the Word of God admonishes us to give thanks.
I love the Holy Words from the book of I Thessalonians 5:18…”in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We are to give thanks in everything! These are very powerful words that cover every detail of our lives. Stop for a moment to ponder this statement. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly! Does God allow the bad and the ugly… You betcha! Why? For many reasons but primarily to draw us near to Him; to lean upon Him; to learn from Him. When we are at our wit’s end and feel the weakest spiritually, our strongest Prayer is a simple cry, “Oh, God help!” We say this Prayer many times when we face the bad and the ugly. Something deep inside of us recognizes that God is our refuge in time of trouble. We acknowledge His sovereign control and power and acquiesce that it was His Will through Jesus Christ concerning us. With that understanding did we follow through and give thanks with the deep faith in knowing that He has His glory and our growth in mind, and that all things really do work out for the good of those who know God?
For me, this past year has been a hard one, to say the least. Living with my affliction of multiple sclerosis, then suffering a stroke last December, and then to be tried with heart issues that needed a pacemaker in July, yep, a lot was going on and the physical therapy to get me back on my feet was hard. Many days I felt like my life had been grounded.
With all honesty, I must confess that it was not until my last hospital stay with my heart issues and I was facing the surgical procedure that the words of 1st Thessalonians 5:18 took root and became embedded into my being. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…” It is the will of God for me to be thankful, and it is the will of God for me to see that everything that comes from His hand is His will. Over and over this past year in every trial with health issues, in that moment of time, I saw that it was the Will of God in Jesus Christ concerning me to do a good work in my life..
Before the foundation of time my God had plans for me which are not to harm me but that I might prosper. I believe that every single thing that happens to me comes from God, by God, with God, and for God. Every thing that ‘happens’ is another glimpse of His bigger purpose in my life…to reflect His likeness for His glory!
Life has become more easy and more peaceful since I gained that true understanding of 1 Thessalonians and began to live it… I don’t need to mumble and grumble, or fight against my trials and challenges with resentment. Instead, I know that every moment is the Will of God concerning me in Christ Jesus and I simply need to wait upon the Lord to reveal His richer plans for me.
Yes, this Thanksgiving, like I do every single day, I bow my head and give thanks. For although it is a day with the turkey, my heart soars with the eagles for the greatest gift of His love and His plans for my life.
Can you truly trust with Him every second of your life? Yes! He who made you and formed you in you mother’s womb, knows you better than you know yourself, and He has great plans for you, not to harm you but that you will prosper in Him.
May you experience the joy of Jesus as you put to practice the scripture of 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “In everything give thanks for this is the Will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.”
God bless you, my friends, not only on this Thanksgiving but in every second of your life as you give thanks to the One who gave you that life.
Here is a thought to ponder in the days ahead…are you walking with the turkeys or soaring with the eagles?
We seek to be a vessel, an outpouring of God’s love, to bring the good news to the afflicted, to bind up the broken hearted, to set the captive free, to comfort those who mourn, and to bring the oil of gladness and the mantle of praise to all that we meet and serve.
We undertake our mission through our outreach of ministering to the spirit, mind, and body, whether it be in renewal through silent retreat and prayer at WaterBrooks, through encouraging those with deafness and other physical challenges at Kennels of Levi, or through meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters among the homeless with Operation Silent Night.
We strive to fulfill our mission, not through our own might and power, but by resting on the firm guiding hand of faith in God’s providence, provisions and promises…for what He has started, He will so complete.