Sunday, November 19, 2006

thanksgiving thoughts

Ahhh... This is the week to fight the crowds at the grocery store and clean house for those family gatherings....But I do love this holiday.

This morning at church, as we were beginning to sing, I felt flat. I felt distracted. It was hard to get my focus on the Lord and praise Him from my heart. I began to wonder if God wants our heartfelt praises most in those moments. When it is a sacrifice. When you have had an argument with your spouse on the way to church, or when you are on the brink of financial ruin. In those times, you may not "feel" the excitement or joy in your words of praise to God, but it isn't about our feelings, is it? Whatever good or bad circumstances we experience, God is good, and faithful, and steadfast. He deserves praise and thanks all the time.

Rowan's Sunday School craft today was a little foam tree with stuck-on leaves noting things to thank God for. So cute. But what if the leaves said 'sickness' or 'battles with overeating' or 'failing business'? Do we still thank God for those things? My honest answer is "How can we?", but God's answer is "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It really takes a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to do this in our hearts, don't you think? It is so contrary to our natural inclination to set aside our feelings and trust God with the bigger picture.

I do have SO many good things to thank God for, and my heart overflows with thankfulness to Him for all those undeserved blessings. But I want Him to teach me how to thank him in the sufferings, big or small. The bible teaches something quite different from the 'focus on the positive' mantra. Focus on it all, and Give Thanks.

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