Last night I sat down to think about applying verses that talk about Thanksgiving. The first thing I did was remember some thankfulness verses.
- In everything give thanks…
- Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…
Then I couldn’t remember any more. I knew I should have been able to remember far more, so I looked up thankful at Bible Gateway. And I was so excited to see the context of this gem: be ye thankful–Colossians 3:15). That’s where I got stuck.
Look at the whole chapter. I was intrigued that this command came after the put off, renew, put on sequence.
- I suspect being thankful for everything (and not just in the midst of everything, which some have suggested) is possible only when the old, fretful self is put off, when the mind is renewed through the knowledge of Christ, and when the love and peace are put on.
Now I’m ready to actually do that.
First, the hard stuff.
- Lee’s going away for six months.
- My dad’s terminal illness.
Well… I’m supposed to be thankful for those things, right. So how can I be thankful for something that seems so bad? I’m reminded now of this passage.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. II Cor 4:16-18
Sometimes I have to be thankful based on faith. I don’t know what the big picture is (the “eternal weight of glory” that captures my awe), but God does, so I know that in true reality, the hard stuff is the good stuff. I don’t have to be in denial to be thankful that my husband is leaving to a dangerous place for a long time. God’s grace works in me the ability to trust and be thankful.
That reminds me of Psalm 37:4-7
Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Commit and trust, delight and rest.
And actually, when I think about it, the little things are the hardest. Every time I’m irritated as a mom (which if I’m honest happens a lot), I’m not being thankful. I can always thank God for working in my life, for teaching me patience, for giving me yet another opportunity to teach obedience and kindness to my children. That takes looking for the eternal weight of glory, too.