Thanksgiving is almost here. But in a stressfully fast and struggling world, why take time to give thanks? This simple question receives some surprising answers.
Giving thanks is good for us. When we offer thanks we recognize that there is a power greater than ourselves that deserves our appreciation. As children of God, he created us. No one understands how he did that. We just accept it by faith. In recognizing God’s hand in creating us as well as blessing us each day, we find satisfaction in giving God the credit that he deserves. We were made to give thanks.
Others around us benefit when we give thanks. In our country we abide by the separation of church and state that governs our public speech. But this law was not written to silence us from talking about our faith or about God. To the contrary, it provides us with a framework for enjoying and sharing our faith with others. Our national leaders do this all the time when they talk about God blessing America, invoke Him in times of celebration, and beseech him during natural disasters. It is okay to believe in God and to talk about Him. So saying, “thank God” when it is appropriate is okay. And talking with friends and family about how grateful we are for God’s blessings in our lives invites them feel comfortable to do the same.
God is honored by our gratitude. Why our thanks mean anything to God is beyond our comprehension. After all, why would the Creator of the universe who has the power and the knowledge to make everything care anything about our gratitude toward Him? But He does. He created mankind to appreciate Him. What is more, He receives our thanksgiving.
Maybe this year has been hard for you. The loss of a loved one, a decline in your health, a deepening sense of isolation from others—these and other hardships steal our joy and dampen our gratitude. We struggle to feel grateful. But God knows our sorrows like no one else. And he cares how we feel. If you being grateful seems impossible, then talk to God about your disappointment. He listens and he cares.
Dave Deuel preaches in area churches