In Everything Give Thanks

In Everything Give Thanks

by Aaron Derstine

Thanksgiving Day 2019 is soon approaching, a time to pause, reflect, and show gratitude to God for His blessings. Since 1863 under the leadership of an official proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, Americans have commemorated a celebratory day of thanksgiving in November to remember the blessings of God over our families and our nation.

A delicious meal and time spent with family and friends is a wonderful occasion to celebrate God’s goodness. At its fullest impact, this annual moment that is set aside will remind us to walk in thankfulness throughout the entire year. When the holiday is over, what is our response to the other 364 days that follow?

I Thessalonians 5:18 gives a crystal-clear, year-round call to action for the people of God: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

But does it really mean everything? Is Scripture really saying that even in our darkest trials we should still be able to be thankful? At first glance, it can appear a bit insensitive or dismissive of our daily realities – even jarring. How simple a command it is to always give thanks, and yet how utterly difficult to do at times!

Nonetheless, as much as we may try to avoid, forget, or explain away this truth in our most challenging moments, giving thanks is the most powerful heavenly strategy that we can employ to walk in God’s best for our lives. Without it, we continue wandering in the wilderness of our doubt and fear. With it, we may still be in a wilderness, but we remember who upholds us through every season.

The power of thanksgiving was a supreme marker of the Tabernacle of David in Biblical history. Inaugurated by a man who knew what it was to run for his life on many occasions, read what King David did to prioritize a celebration of thanksgiving in the nation of Israel, on the day the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Tabernacle:

7 On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord:

8 Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!

9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!

10 Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

11 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!

 – I Chronicles 16:7-11

One has to wonder whether this day of thanksgiving instituted by David would have been as triumphant or recognizable had David and the people of Israel not experienced so many trials at the hand of their enemies and other hardships. Then and now, our God is in the business of creating beautiful things in the places of greatest difficulty. Thankfulness that comes from God is not shallow or superficial – but refined through the rough and strenuous processes and experiences of real life. 

This Thanksgiving, let’s pray that this moment that we take to give God thanks will extend into an everyday, powerful, sustaining reality. Let our lives become a tabernacle of His goodness for which we remember to be truly thankful throughout the many seasons of life’s road.

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