Giving thanks in all is God’s will. To constantly recognize and express gratitude for who He is and what He has done. To remember and proclaim the wonderful deeds He has done.
Being thankful in all circumstances is no easy feat. For there is much that wounds and angers and saddens; that overshadows God’s working, blinding our eyes to the blessings He gives. That is why true thanksgiving is an act of faith. Of trust. Sometimes we must say, “Thank you,” even when our sight is clouded.
In Matthew 14, we see Jesus living in faith as He offered thanks to God:
We find a similar situation in Matthew 15, when Jesus feeds four thousand people with seven loaves and a few small fish, after giving thanks. (vv. 29-39)
When we have food sitting on our plates in front of us, it’s easy to give thanks. When we receive a gift, it’s easy to give thanks. When the prayer is answered, it’s easy to give thanks. When we get the job we want, it’s easy to give thanks. When we see the provision, the supply, the abundance, it’s easy to give thanks. But in situations where there seems to be not enough, can we trust and thank God for His provision even then?
Thanksgiving is so important in all situations because it reminds us Whose purpose prevails (Proverbs 19:21). It reminds us Who will meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19). It reminds us Who we are to lean on and trust with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5).
Because God is in control. God does provide. God is our strength and our rest.
The provision may not come in the way or in the form we thought it would. Things may not go as we planned or wanted. But we humble ourselves before the One who knows best and we trust Him to do best. And He will. He does. For that we can be thankful.
Jesus trusted in God. He had faith that God would provide. So He gave thanks even when the five loaves and two fish were still just five loaves and two fish. Before all ate and were satisfied. Before 12 basketfuls of leftovers were gathered.
We see another instance of Jesus’ trusting in and giving thanks to God in John 11:
Again, before provision was made, before the hoped for became the reality, before the miraculous was seen, Jesus gave thanks. For He knew God would hear. He knew God always hears.
Sometimes life’s situations and busyness and responsibilities do make it difficult for us to see anything good; anything of God’s provision and love and working. That is why we must “live by faith, not by sight.” (1 Corinthians 5:7) For faith is being sure of what we hope for. Faith is being certain of the God we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).
Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Thanksgiving given without faith is not pleasing to God. When we give thanks we must believe that God is present and trust Him as the Giver of that for which we are thankful.
When we live by faith, putting our trust in God, we see God’s glory. We have hope when all odds are against us. We have joy and strength when the pain is too much to bear. We have peace when our world crashes around us. For through it all we know with certainty that we are loved with unfailing love by a God who is always good.
So when five loaves and two fish are all we have, when hope is fading, when we’re wondering how we’re going to hold it all together and get it all done, when sorrow overwhelms, when anger is kindled, let us give thanks. Let us, with a grateful heart, trust that God will display His glory.
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Photo from Unsplash, edited by Jessica Faith
All Scriptures taken from the NIV, copyright 2011