If you make a list of all the things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving, check your list with a critical eye.
Are all of the things on your list good things? Are the blessings you're counting all positive, happy circumstances?
If so, consider the following:
Can we thank God for the bad things, the hurtful circumstances, the painful past, the less-than-perfect surroundings?
Have you stopped to thank God for
- the car that sometimes won't start,
- the child that is breaking your heart with their disobedience, or
- the job that fills you daily with despair?
This is the real test of our thankful spirit.
Very often, in the Scripture, God calls our thanksgiving a sacrifice.
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.
It may sometimes cause you pain to be thankful to the Lord; but your gratefulness shows your submission to the Lord.
Let's face it. God doesn't need to hear your thanksgiving to know if your heart is humbled to His will. He knows what is in our hearts already, quite often before we even recognize it ourselves.
We offer our thanksgiving to God, even in the midst of pain, so that others can see how great we believe our God is. They need to know that even in crisis, we can trust our God to do what is best for us.
The world wants to know if our Christianity still works when our life seems to be crumbling around us; because if it works then, it really works!
Let me encourage you, then, to take one small step toward sincere Thanksgiving this holiday.
Choose one thing in your life that make you unhappy, one situation that causes you true pain, and give God praise for it.
I believe you will be amazed at how your heart will find peacefulness and satisfaction in the midst of the trial when you are filled with praise for the goodness of your God!
(I would love to hear your testimony of how this truth worked in your life. Please share a comment with us about your sacrifice of thanksgiving.)