Do you have trouble being thankful? I do too. Yet, I have come to realize that God is in the praises of His people as Psalm 22:3 tells us. This psalm depicting Christ’s crucifixion is full of darkness of the thoughts of God forsaking us as Jesus said from the cross. But we trust in the One who can deliver and rescue us from the grave or at least troubles now and soon. But why thanks?
Scripture is full of thanksgiving and praises, even in trouble and trials. Why is that? Why does 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 say, “Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” It almost seems absurd and it is in worldly terms. Here we don’t expect trouble or at least we can run or buy our way out from it. But God wants us to rejoice and give thanks and not to forget to pray, as prayer is our connection to God.
Perhaps one of the hardest verses in the Bible from James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you come into trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” (James1: 2-4). God is saying to rejoice for He is working in you. He also gives us the exhortation to ask Him for wisdom in the next verse to know what to do and how to do it. God will give this generously if we don’t doubt and are thankful.
The psalms are full of giving thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever (Psalms 107, 100,136). How can we give thanks in all things you might ask, for not all things are good? True, not all things are good like cancer and war and trauma of all sorts. But God is good and He is in them with you if you trust in Him. God says in Deuteronomy and Hebrews, “He will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6); “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we might say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). These are words of encouragement and strengthening during our journeys on earth.
Paul in his letter to the Philippians tells them, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all for the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7). This is a verse I put to memory years ago. It again tells us to rejoice and give thanks in everything. Why? Because the peace of God will be with you and guard you. This is why much is written about praying the Scriptures, because they do not return void, but accomplish God’s purpose for us or others in it with us.“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Yes, give thanks for Jesu