The dictionary says thankful means “pleased or relieved” or “expressing gratitude and relief.” As I read over the definition right now, I ponder what it really means to me to be thankful? Am I thankful? Do I express gratitude enough in my life?
When I think of gratitude or thanksgiving, the first thought that pops in my head are the people and things in my life I am extremely grateful for. Most people would agree, right? I know it was my first thought when I began to write about being thankful. I also wondered how many times a day I say “I am so blessed.” I know say it quite often, which, if I am honest, there is nothing wrong with. But, as I ask myself that question, I wonder what am I saying I am so blessed about?
Am I blessed because of the beautiful children God entrusted me with (biological or not)? YES! Am I blessed with a great husband? YES! Am I blessed to have some great friends? YES! Am I blessed to be part of an amazing family? Yes! Am I blessed by my salvation? For sure! But…was this all I was truly “blessed” with? I believe when I use the phrase “I am so blessed” it is my surface statement. It’s the statement I say or post when I feel happy, something great happened or I had a great day. What about those bad days or those sad days? Am I not blessed by or thankful for those?
The Bible says in James 1: 2 to “consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials.” I would be lying if I said I “considered it great joy” to suffer through 5 years of Infertility, or when we miscarried our precious baby, or when my mom passed away. At the time of all of these events I definitely didn’t have joy. I was not thanking God for these events… I believe I should have though.
If you go just a tad further into James 1 it goes on to say “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” I can truly look back and say with all certainty that I could see God everywhere in those tests. He was going before me…preparing me…using me for the days ahead. He knew I would need those exact experiences to produce the endurance I needed for MY race. I would never be who and where I am today without those bad days, those sad days, those angry days. For that I am TRULY thankful to Him!! Even though I found no joy at those particular dark times, I can see it now.
“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1: 12
So if you are not thankful today you will be! Look for it…search for the joy…He will lead you there. He teaches and test me daily, and I fail a lot and I mean a lot. But, He gave me and you so many reasons to be thankful. He chose us. Jesus died for us. He saved us. So, when I get to experience those amazing days or those bad days I know He is always there. I don’t need to know what is next because He will be there! How can I not be thankful for that? “He will never leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31: 6 Everyday may not be what you or I want or expected, but life is too short not to love the story God has for us. Chose to find joy and be THANKFUL!