The Bible never ties thankfulness to a certain circumstance or a particular kind or amount of blessing. If you’re like me, that’s not how you think about or live out thankfulness personally though. And the holiday season can be a terrible time for so many. In fact, suicide peaks around the holidays. Maybe it’s a stressful time for you as well. So let’s get basic about thankfulness.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Ouch…all circumstances. That’s hard to escape. As it’s so clear a command and that doesn’t leave much wiggle room to avoid thankfulness, I want to lay out several ways to be thankful even in hard times. Here we go.
Realize that God is not done with you yet. Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Death has no power over us in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:52–53
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (ESV)
God knows and satisfies our longing of him. Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (ESV)
Set your eyes on the things above. You’ll be with Christ soon. Colossians 3:1-4
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (ESV)
I don’t want to take much of your time today. But I do want you to realize that we have much more ahead of us than we do behind. In other words, most of our existence will be in our eternity. So why do we let the hard times here and now overcome the overwhelming joy of knowing and being known by Jesus? Why do we let verbal and even physical persecution diminish the everlasting joy of Christ in us?
What if we stopped and, instead, found daily joy in the God of our salvation?