Today, on Thanksgiving Day 2011, I am so thankful for the ability, privilege and gift of thankfulness. I am thankful that the Lord has put thankfulness in my heart, mixed in with the sadness and grief, because thankfulness brings joyfulness.
In his letters to the churches, Paul repeatedly told them (and now us) to be thankful in all circumstances. One that has stuck with me through the years is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)Today's devotion in Jesus Calling gave perfect insight to this (referring to Ephesians 5:20, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."):
"Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience . . . those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain. Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity." (pg. 343)I am so thankful for Jesus and that because of Him, I can have salvation and joy and thankfulness. Even when my heart is sad and missing my dad (which it is and will be), I can be glad. I can have joy. I can be thankful. And the Lord has done this!
"I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
The LORD is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalm 118: 21-24, 27a, 28-29, ESV