One of the biggest struggles we have as humans is our inability to see how much we are truly blessed. Often our thinking and understanding of what it really means to be blessed blinds us of how good God has been. During this Thanksgiving and holiday season, we need to be grateful. Being grateful is not easy, especially when meeting challenge after challenge, crisis after crisis, and loss after loss. These times can make one ungrateful. The Bible reveals to us these profound words: “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” I Thessalonians 5:18.
This means that regardless of what situation we may find ourselves, we must give thanks, because it is the will of God. God’s desire for us is not to walk around complaining and lamenting over what we do not have or how someone hurt us or for us to feel sorry for ourselves. God’s will for our lives is to give thanks in everything.
Although there are times we may think that God is not helping us do his will, God is always blessing us in big and small ways to encourage us to give thanks. God will reveal to us that things could be worse. If we analyzed our situation (and if we were honest with ourselves), God did not have to allow things to be as good as they are. For this revelation to come to us, we must reflect on what we do have, rather than what we do not have.
Many of us do not have a lot, and we have lost a great deal over the years, e.g., relationships, loved ones, money, jobs, and even our health. However, during these hard times, God is still present and blessing us with life and the ability to overcome the pain and to recoup the losses. If we are willing to be grateful for what is left, God’s grace through Jesus Christ will heal us and bring greater blessings into our lives. We must be grateful. The devil does not want us to walk around with a spirit of gratitude; he wants us to live our lives mad, depressed, and licking our wounds—believing that we have nothing to thank God for in our lives. The devil is a liar. If we choose to be grateful, to give thanks in everything, no matter what happens in our lives, we will still have joy. This is why people in hospice, journeying through chemotherapy, bearing the responsibility of taking care of loved ones, those selling Contributors, and others who are going through their personal struggles, still bless God. They are grateful. Being grateful is not attached to circumstances. Being grateful is connected to our love of God, worship of God, and our trust in God. God is still good, even though circumstances may be bad. Be grateful.
We all remember the ‘70s sitcom, Good Times, in which the Evans, living in the ghetto of Chicago, suffered under the mantle of poverty, joblessness, gang violence, racism, and death. Given the set of struggles portrayed, it seems like the show should have been called Bad Times.
The opening lines of the show’s theme song revealed what was happening looked bad, but they were good times, e.g., any time you meet a payment—‘good times’; any time you need a friend—‘good times’; any time you’re out from under, not getting hassled, not getting hustled, keepin’ your head above water, making a wave when you can, temporary lay offs—‘good times’; easy credit rip offs—‘good times’; scratchin’ and surviving—‘good times’; hangin’ in a chow line—‘good times.’
Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em—‘good times.’ They were good times, because they were grateful. Our bad times can be good times, if we are willing to give thanks in everything. Be grateful!