Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. This is a special day set aside to remember and be thankful for physical and/or relational blessings in our lives. Have you ever asked yourself: “Is there one thing above everything else in my life that I should be thankful for?” Another key question for me is: “Can any blessing in my life overshadow or dominate any or all negative circumstances in my life?”
Scripture verses in 1 Thessalonians come to my mind as I ponder these questions.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
How can this be? How can I be joyful and thankful even with negative circumstances in my life?
These scripture verses also instruct us to be in prayer about our cares and concerns. Let us pray: “Lord God, please reveal to us more clearly how we can be thankful and filled with joy regardless of negative circumstances in our lives.”
One way God answers our prayers is through His Word, the Bible. First Peter, chapter one, describes our relationship with God in terms of thankfulness and praise. Verses 3 through 6 give praise to God for His gift of salvation, and declare that through faith we are shielded by God’s power from this inheritance ever being taken from us. What a reason to be thankful!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who though faith are shielded by God’s power until the last time. (1 Peter 1:3- 6 NIV)
In the next few verses, God tells us how He uses our suffering and trials to strengthen our faith, and just how valuable our faith is. These times of grief and trials will result in future praise, glory and honor to God. Also included is a description of what it means to have a saving faith. Looking beyond our present situation to our future home in heaven should bring us peace and joy even in the mist of any present day negative circumstance.
In this greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.(1 Peter 1:7- 9 NIV)
We have both physical (future in heaven) and relational (here on earth and future in heaven) reasons to be thankful to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for our inheritance (salvation of our souls) that is waiting for us in heaven. This is the one thing above everything else that we have to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season.
God bless you and yours this holiday season.