Praise the Lord!
For He has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust Him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. — Psalm 28:6-7, NLT
It is almost trite to ask what are you thankful for in this season. And I do believe that gratefulness is an attitude and discipline that we need to practice all year long; and it’s something that believers should be doing:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. — Colossians 3:15
But if you are like me there are a lot of sad memories in this season. November is the month that my Papa passed away over 50 years ago, my uncle Jerry passed away 11 years ago and just one year ago, my cousin Scott committed suicide. The good thing is that as I look back, I can see so many more good memories in this season – and much of my life – and for that I am truly thankful. I can and do choose to overcome the obstacle of sadness by thanking God for the good memories that by His grace and mercy fill my heart and mind.
The life of a Christian is not guaranteed to be smooth and painless; actually quite the opposite. And if the last two years have shown us anythihg, it’s that we all are not really good with dealing with life when things go awry. The real problem at hand is that God is left out of the picture; even His children seem to be chasing other sources of help, instead of crying for His mercy. We are too independent and think that we have got this (life) and we will make it through just fine but the first time we stub our toe on one of the stumbling blocks in life’s road – major illness, financial loss, soured relationships, you name it – we are lost and seem to enjoy finding someone to blame or making others miserable. Our tendency to take life (and God) for granted and our tendency toward ingratitude wreck our peace.
I think the solution is clear – maybe not easy, but clear nonetheless. We do what God designed us for – praise of our Creator and Savior (1 Peter 2:9). We praise Him and we pray. He hears and in His presence we are able to rejoice and with the Psalmist burst out in songs of thanksgiving. My late friend, Enoch, believed this with all of his heart and lived it (and I believe is STILL living it in heaven). So many more verses of scripture back this up also.
So, as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner – with family and friends or alone – remember to give heartfelt thanks to the One who hears your cry, who is your strength and shield. Let Him help you and let your heart be filled with joy. Let your songs of thanksgiving burst forth.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
— Psalm 7:17, ESV