Another year has sneaked by us and it’s the “Thanksgiving” season again here in the USA. So it would only be fitting to dedicate this to giving thanks unto God for all the blessings He has given us this year. Though sometimes we look at our circumstances and things look bleak, we still have LOTS to be thankful for. Just look at the news around the world; disasters, wars, famines, disease, earthquakes, floods, you name it, and it gets real easy to become negatively affected. It seems the more I look around me, the more I can thank God. No, everything is not as I would have it. My little corner of the world is not ideal, and no doubt, yours could use some improvement too. But it’s time to quit looking at what we don’t have, and start looking at what we DO have.
While most people look at a half glass of water as half empty, those pesky optimists see it as half full. They always seem to find a silver lining around every storm cloud. Do you suffer from that quirk? Well actually, I can think of worse things to suffer with, for example, sickness, poverty, rejection, addictions, loneliness, depression, to name a few. And another one is “ungratefulness”. I think we all suffer from that one from time to time. We tend to take too much for granted.
Recently I saw a man in a wheelchair with an oxygen bottle that he depended on to breathe and get around. Then I realized how truly blessed I am to be able to walk and breathe freely. There are countless people homeless and if you’re one of those people who gripe about having to mow the yard or paint the porch, perhaps you might be happier without having a place to live.
Sunday, on the way home from church, the transmission on our van failed. It was then I realized how often I took for granted having a dependable vehicle to travel in.
We never appreciate what we had until it’s gone, they say. How true that is.
The Holy Spirit reminded me Sunday to be thankful in all things. How can you be thankful when sickness strikes, or when you lose your job, or when your transmission fails? Well, I don’t find in the Bible that it seems to be an option. Let’s look at what it says in Ephesians 5:20;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

And so every word might be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses, it is also written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18,

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

It would appear to me that God doesn’t want us to be whiny, ungrateful brats, but to appreciate all He does for us.

So, does that mean every time something goes wrong we are to be thankful for it? No, I don’t think God wants us to be thankful for what the devil does to us, but to be thankful IN it, regardless of whether there be any joy in it or not. Having a thankful heart is precious to God. Not too long ago I hit my thumb really hard with a hammer. I was jumping up and down hollering quite loudly, Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord! and a person nearby thought I was nuts, no doubt, but I went on to explain to him I was thankful to the Lord that I still had a thumb. It was sore and bleeding, but still on there, nonetheless. It could have been laying on the floor. Things could have been much worse than they were.
¬†When my transmission failed Sunday, I knew how I reacted to that situation would greatly affect my outcome, and boy, did it ever. I wasn’t overjoyed about it breaking, but I thanked God for the years of faithful service it gave me. I thanked Him it hadn’t locked up and caused us to wreck. Without a doubt, that wasn’t what the devil wanted to hear. We did manage to barely limp it home, and that was something else I was immensely grateful for. As it were, I went to a church close to home that day, instead of the normal 116 mile round trip I make to my Pastor’s church. Now I know why the Lord had me do that. It would have been a very long walk home. By the way, it’s good to listen to the Lord’s prompting. He knew that transmission was about to go south, but I didn’t. You see, He was looking out for us. And again, I’m thankful.
Do you know what the result of my not losing my peace over that was? The Lord told me how to fix the problem. No, I didn’t have a $2000 plus transmission job done. He told me to look back through all the maintenance receipts at what was done when I had had the transmission serviced according to the maintenance schedule. The first thing I noticed was, that in 197,000 miles, there was no note of the transmission filter ever having been changed. I didn’t know that. I had been depending on the dealer to take care of whatever it needed all these years. The dealer had merely “flushed” the transmission and left the old filter in it. So following the Lord’s leading, I drained the fluid and pulled off the pan, cleaned everything, and installed a new filter and fluid. And it works again, praise God!
Now, if I had taken it to the garage, no doubt I would have ended up buying a new transmission, or having that one overhauled. But because I was thankful to God in the situation, He had mercy and told me how to fix it. Had I thrown a hissy fit over it, and got all bent out of shape, no doubt that mercy would not have been there.
So, next time you are faced with an unpleasant situation, don’t harp about what you don’t have, but rather give thanks to God for what you DO have. Number one, you have a wonderful,merciful, heavenly Father who cares more for you than you could possibly know. That alone is worth being outrageously thankfully for. I don’t know about you, but I have a wonderful mate (and she said I could say so). For that I am very thankful. Especially when I look around at others who don’t have. I have a wonderful Pastor, and friends that care, and that means the world to me. I’m perfectly healthy, and live in a free country. I can drive and not have to walk where I go. Or I can walk when I want to. When I think of all my blessings, I’m overwhelmed at how good the Lord is to me. How about you? Why not sit down right now and make a list of what you are thankful for. Then dig it back out when you think there isn’t much to be thankful for. It will remind you how blessed you truly are.
Jenny and I hope you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. Just think, you could be the turkey……