As we draw near to the Thanksgiving Holiday, I think it is helpful for us to remember that thanksgiving is a way of life for believers and not just a day in our life. Giving thanks to the Lord and rejoicing in the Lord are evidences of God's saving grace in a person's life.
Believers are called to a lifestyle of giving thanks and rejoicing that doesn't make sense to unbelievers. Believers are called to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thes 5:18) and to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4) and to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2). This kind of thankfulness and joy and perspective makes no sense to unbelievers; it only makes sense to believers who are walking by faith and not by sight (1 Cor 5:7).
Our thankfulness is not limited by our circumstances but is enlivened by Christ. Our joy is not shackled by our present situation but is anchored in our ever present Savior. Our perspective is not informed by our sight but is transformed by our faith.
It is faith that allowed Job to say after a very hard day, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed by the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).
It is faith that allowed Jeremiah, as he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, say, "But this I call to mind, and therefore have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him'" (Lam 3:21-24).
It is faith that allowed Habakkuk, in view of calamity, to say, "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet, I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength" (Hab 3:17-19a).
Faith sees the LORD as trustworthy and worth believing and following. Faith sees the LORD as better. Faith sees God as bigger. Faith allows us to bring our problems to God and allows us to see God as sovereign over our problems.
Rejoice in the Lord always, give thanks in all circumstances, and count it all joy, as you look to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).
Grace and Peace,