Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It’s that time of the year where we take the time to recognize everything we are thankful for. We are quick to list our friends, our family, God’s protection from harm and his blessing in our lives. We are thankful for everything and everyone that brings joy and happiness into our lives. We truly have a lot to be thankful for. We live in a country that allows us to worship God. We are safe from persecution for our faith. We can go to church and give God our praise, and we can share the gospel without risk of losing our lives. The list of things to be thankful for is extensive. But it can still be longer.
The list that we typically make is limited to what things and people bring you joy. It is composed of everything that pours into us. Our list tends to funnel down to all that is good at the surface level. We often neglect all the blessings in disguise. We leave our trials and tribulations out of the list. We leave out our problems and unsettling circumstances. We are not thankful for all the things that keep us up at night, or all those who have hurt us in the past. Why should you be thankful for all these things? Why can’t I just focus on the good? Well, let’s talk about what “good” really looks like.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:8
The Lord is good! The Lord’s will is good! Christ, the redeemer of all that is evil and bad in our lives, is good! The one who makes all crooked ways straight is good! The one who created everything about you is good! Blessed are those who see that! Blessed are those who see the good in God’s plan while things around them seem to be crumbling. Blessed are those who choose to take refuge in God amidst their troubles. Goodness is not found strictly in the things that satisfy us. Goodness is found in the God who has already won the battle over evil.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12
We can’t see all the good that God has already done through our circumstances right now. We know only what we perceive presently. But God sees all, and controls all. Trust him.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Isn’t eternity what we are striving for? Don’t you long for the day when you are standing at the feet of Jesus upon his throne? I know that I do. Set your eyes on the things that are unseen. What I mean by that is to see God’s goodness in everything you lay your eyes on. Look through your trails and troubles. What is seen is only temporary. But God’s rich love and mercy lasts for eternity. That is truly good!
Don’t lose heart, don’t lose faith. Be thankful to the God who brings light to the darkness. Be thankful for each and every circumstance. By doing so, you are letting God use it to build you up and strengthen you. That is reason to be thankful! Let’s make your list longer this Thanksgiving! Give thanks to what truly is good.