"All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast." (Proverbs 15:15)
Third Thursday in November
What does it mean for us as Christians to really give God the thanks He's due for all He's done?
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
It says to give thanks in all things. Not for all things, but IN all things. This means trials and temptations. This means that I should be thanking Him when I don't feel anything. This means that when the hardships come, I thank Him, not for the difficulties, but for the solutions that are already in place (see Isaiah 65:24 and Jeremiah 29:11). When I choose to express gratitude in whatever situation I'm in--positive/negative--then I am responding correctly to God and what He's done for me. God has everything I need to live the life He's called me to. I am alive right now because of the food I ate yesterday, last week. Did I thank Him for that meal? (I think so. Thank-You Lord!)
The expression of gratitude automatically humbles me. It shows my need and my powerlessness (in and of myself) to meet that need. Sure, I went to work last week, earned a paycheck and bought the food that wound up on my table. And God was in and behind all of it. I'm grateful. God met my need. Thank-You. It's the same way with trials and temptations. Gratitude is the bridge that brings us across the perceived separation that says that we must meet our own need during temptation and forego God's ample provision. Any temptation to sin is just meeting a valid need other than how God would provide. If I thank God as I'm experiencing temptation, then He'll blunt the immediacy to sin and show me a better way.
Really, there's nothing we can do for ourselves that God has not paved the way for us with solutions, subsistence and sustenance. We need to thank Him constantly for what He's done and in gratitude wait on Him for what He says He'll provide as we do our part.
"Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things." (Psalm 72:18)
Plumb the depths of your past and present to seek out the beautiful ways that God has revealed Himself and provided for you. These wondrous things will keep you focused on Him and you'll sail through your hardships with a grateful heart.
"And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen." (Psalm 72:19)