“I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.” Psalm 116:17 NLT
“Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God toward you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18 Berean Bible
“If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart
Sometimes giving thanks really is a sacrifice, even at this wonderful Thanksgiving time. If it depends on feelings, it won’t get done. If it depends on circumstances, it won’t get done. If it depends on making time, it won’t get done. And giving thanks requires discipline—a daily, minute-by-minute consciousness. It heals, eventually, too. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday. It’s a spiritual discipline. It’s Thanksgiving every day.
I went to the eye doctor the other day and after my examination, the doctor and I discussed some troublesome results. I could be getting macular degeneration and we need to keep a close watch on this. Some lifestyle changes like more fruits, exercise and supplements may slow it way down. I’m on it!
But here’s the deal. How many times have I thanked God for my gift of sight? You can bet I do now. So many gifts are taken for granted. My eyes have been opened (no pun intended) to even more blessings because of my gift of sight and oh how I treasure them! The autumn colors in my little town, the smiles from the cashiers at my grocery store, the beautiful book I read during my morning devotions. The faces of my children and grandchildren could become a blurry fog to me. How I pray I don’t lose my sight. How I pray to not be a burden on others. Losing my driving privileges is so scary – taken for granted. All from a disturbing eye examination. Poof! Reality! I am not alone in taking for granted our many gifts.
My mind wandered back to the blind man in the Bible and Jesus asked him, “What can I do for you?” If he asked me, of course, I’d answer the same as this blind man, “My eyesight.” With more thought, though, Jesus did everything for me and even though my circumstances are disturbing and my heart is afraid, my answer would be a simple thank you. It’s going to be okay.
Giving thanks when one is grieving, in pain, ill, homeless, addicted and many of the “Biggies” of life feels like a sacrifice. And it truly is. The good and healing truth is we’re not required to give thanks for the evil and destructive circumstances that come to all in this life but to give thanks in all circumstances. God doesn’t, never will and never has given us evil. We may not feel thankful. We may not understand our circumstances. We may squirm, try to breathe, cling to our faith in these painful times but the truth is, Jesus did do everything for us. The extras are gifts and are grateful for these too.
Thank you for all you’ve given and done for us. We can list all that we have to be thankful for and the list is still incomplete. Thank you for each other.
Thank you for giving us what we need this day. Thank you for even our breath. Thank you for some wants too. You truly give abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think.
We come to you in a thankful spirit regardless of the circumstances. Every day is a gift. Every day is an opportunity to love. Every day is a challenge to overcome with you at the helm. Like Peter in the midst of the stormy sea, we cry, “Help us.” And as Peter said, “Cast all your anxieties because he cares for you.”