1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Psalm 92:1-2, Psalm 107:1
When things are going great in my life (which actually has been MOST of my life), I find it easy to be thankful. Oh, and it's always easy during the Thanksgiving season as well because we talk about being thankful for at least a few days. But, what about those times when I get kicked in the gut with something totally unexpected and hard. Do I have an attitude of gratitude then?
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives us some instructions on being thankful. In verse 16, it says: Rejoice evermore. That's easy when things are going well. Verse 17 says: Pray without ceasing. That one is a little harder (the “without ceasing” part) because I always think I could pray more than I do. But, verse 18 says: In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Wait God…even in the midst of a cancer diagnosis?
Yes, it's the will of God concerning ME. I found this command to be the most difficult of all because it's not so easy to be thankful when something devastating happens and changes your life forever.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about losing my hair to chemotherapy and what God graciously showed me through that experience. That lesson undeniably was having confidence by Hi and through Him and Him alone. I was not thankful to lose my hair by any means, but desperation brought me to my knees and, by golly I found a few things to be thankful for during that difficult time. Below is an excerpt from my thankful journal.
Ok, so today is about being thankful in EVERYTHING. This is tough but I'll try really hard. It will grow back. I've never been a hat person before but my friends are showering me with hats, so maybe this is my moment. There are actually some pretty good wigs out there. They've come a long way! I don't have to wash, dry, color or even cut my hair. Low maintenance for me! I can still wake up in the morning and put on some make up, some earrings and feel ok about myself. I have a husband who is bald and thinks me being bald is cool. It has sparked a desire in Rebecca to start a ministry. Wow, how exciting is that?
That was the day I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out, but tried my best to have the attitude of gratitude. In Psalms 92: 1-2 the Bible says: It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most high: To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. I didn't always write something in my journal every morning and every night, but I did try to be conscious of finding something to thank God for each day. I learned through this experience that becoming thankful somehow in a tough situation is one of the ways God showers his mercy on us. When we are faithful and have an attitude of gratitude it helps us get through those lowest of low days. He helps us find a silver lining!
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto The Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
If you were to rate your gratitude on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you fall? I think we all would have a different number at different times in our lives, but I can truthfully say God has showed me the more thankful I am, the happier I become on a daily basis.
"It's not happy people who are thankful, it's thankful people who are happy." Author unknown