I was curious to see how the Christians I knew would answer the question“What are you thankful for?” Here are their responses:
“I’m glad that God is into recycling. He picked me up out of the trash, dusted me off and gave me another chance to be of good use.”
“I’m thankful that God always works out everything for our good and that He has a purpose for me. I’m grateful that He shows His love through situations, through my family and close friends.
“I’m thankful for my little girl and her mom. I’m thankful for family and good friends. I’m thankful to God for my musical talent, for giving me a purpose, a job and a place of my own. I’m grateful for the struggle, because the struggle causes me to be grateful.”
“I’m grateful for life itself.”
“My husband and I are thankful that He is still alive. We are both so thankful to have been able to see the birth of one of our great-grandchildren. Not many people get to enjoy this very rich blessing.
I’m thankful for the family I was born into and for everything I’ve been given. I’m especially grateful for my salvation-for the path God thinks I’m worthy enough to walk.”
The real blessings of God are spiritual and come through salvation. They are love, joy, peace, a quiet mind, kind acts, well-doing and faith. The answers above show that these people understand this. There is far too much emphasis on the wrong types of blessings. Many people equate a person’s good fortune—the home, cars and other things possessed—as blessings from God. This may or may not be the case, for we know that there are wealthy people who do not believe in God or in Christ. And, scripture says that God blesses His children—those who believe in Him and obey His commands. He has no obligation to bless someone else’s children.
The bible instructs us to give thanks in all things. This means under any and all situations. Does this mean we are to be grateful if we have an incurable sickness or have been laid off one year before retirement? It is nonsense to say that we should be grateful for things that make us suffer. But, we can be grateful for the comfort God gives us through it all.
However, traumatic events are sometimes blessings in disguise. My son and his girlfriend were sitting on the sofa watching television one evening here at home. In an attempt to get comfortable, my son stretched out his arm, accidentally hitting her in the eye with his elbow. The pain she experienced was terrible and didn’t go away during the night. So, the next day she visited an eye doctor who diagnosed her with a detached retina, and referred her to a surgeon. Does this sound like something anyone would be thankful about? I can tell you that neither she nor my son were happy about this happening. He was guilt ridden, she was fearful of losing her vision and horrified at having to give up on her passion to be an Architect. But, it seems that God had a reason for allowing this to happen. You see, her retina had been detaching slowly for years without causing her any pain. This forced visit to an eye doctor saved her sight.
With this being said, here is a Thanksgiving prayer for us all:
God, help us to see beyond our obvious blessings; for, we know that every good and perfect gift is from you. Open our eyes so that we may see the hidden blessings in every dismal circumstance. Let us not neglect to thank you in every situation. Enable us to see that you are always at work for the good of everyone who loves you. (Romans 8:28)
Thank you for the times we are lonely and neglected because it is during these times that we come to know your enduring companionship and protection. (Heb 13: 5-6, 8)
Thank you for hurts and rejections through which we realize you will never hurt or reject us. (Psalm 94:14)
Thank you for sickness and pain through which we experience the kindness and unselfish love of others. (1John 4:7-21)
We are also grateful for the feelings of fear and anxiety; through our weakness you are able to reveal your strength and your power. (2 Cor 12-9)
We thank you for the inner emptiness which kept us searching for that missing‘peace’ because our wandering through many wrong places safely led us to you. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)
Father, for all the lessons learned because of our tears, torment, fear, strife, fatigue, and longing we give you thanks. Most of all, thank you for calling us by name while in our state of darkness, and allowing us sufficient time to hear and recognize your voice. (1 Peter 2:9-10)