The psalms are filled with praise and thanksgiving . . . and, also with despair.
Psalm 118:1-29 is a prayer of thanksgiving for victory in David’s life. Much happened between the dash from the first to the twenty-ninth verse that aren’t situations for which we give thanks. It didn’t always look like victory.
He didn’t simply write down the good. David also recorded the not-so-good.
For then and for now. For him and for us.
Life is hard, but God is good.
The Bible tells us to always give thanks in all things, in every circumstance . . . because it is the will of God. But, can we do that?
Can we say that God is good when our circumstances say differently? Reading Psalm 118 causes me to stop and list the grace and miracles in my journal. Names and dates written in the margin of my Bible alongside of David’s words remind me of God’s goodness and greatness revealed in my family at this time of year, when critical times seemed to determine my gratitude.
Illness, ruptured relationships, and loss. A time of difficult thanks.
I shall not die, but live and tell of the works of the Lord. The Lord has disciplined me severely but He has not given me over to death. Ps 118:17,18
You may be in a place right now when you just can’t give thanks in all things. I understand. It’s not dishonest to give thanks when we’re not feeling it, because . . .
Thankfulness is a choice.
When I sift through the rubble of circumstances and wonder what I’m thankful for – above all, I’m grateful that God didn’t leave me where He found me.
Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness – it’s deeper.
When we understand that God is sovereign and controls what is happening when life is spinning out – that’s when we can give thanks.
Thanksgiving isn’t about one day on the calendar that gets lost in the shadow of feasts and football. It’s about every day – a twenty-four hour gift that we won’t get to open again. The sun comes up and we do what we do until the sun goes down, and thanks gets lost in our clutter. We miss the jewels on our path.
Breathe gratitude – just today. You’ll have fresh breath for tomorrow.
To give thanks when you don’t feel like it is not hypocrisy – its obedience. Jack Mitchell.