Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Thankfulness is tricky. Give thanks in all things. How do I apply this, and do it authentically?
I think it is important to differentiate between being “thankful” for the results of a fallen world, i.e. death of Jana, and being thankful for God’s presence, provision, and faithful love in this fallen world. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances.” Give thanks while in the valley…
So, I am going to apply thankfulness to my circumstance. What is my circumstance? I am in the midst of grief. Personally, I feel sad, lonely, depressed, confused, angry, tearful, rebellious, and guilt ridden. I find myself without my life partner, our “plans” have disintegrated into shreds of ideas that may or may not ever happen, and I am a single parent.
I do not feel particularly thankful for any of these feelings or situations that I am experiencing. As a matter of fact, I often wish that none of this had ever befallen me. So, I don’t think God is calling me to be thankful for the problems that I have. I believe there are other, more substantial things to be thankful for.
It would seem that I need to look outside of my circumstance to find something to be thankful for. Thankful to the Lord, because HE is GOOD. God has not changed. Everything in my world has. My outlook for today and much of the future has gone into the toilet. God has NOT changed. He was good, and remains good!
Not only is God good, but He faithfully loves me forever. He also faithfully loves Jana forever! Now, this is something I can sink my “thankful” teeth into. When I look outside of my current trudge through the muck, I see the eternal God; good, loving and beautiful. I can be thankful.
My circumstances win most of the day. I feel it. I can’t escape these emotions. Jesus is walking with me, I talk to Him often. I share details of my thoughts, confess failures in my walk. I am looking to Him more each day. Finding hope, finding thankfulness while in my valley. Every so often, it strikes me like a flash of light…God is not done with me yet. There are things to come, there is a life to continue living, and, maybe down the road, more enjoyable circumstances to be thankful in.