“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The other morning, lying in bed, I started thanking the Lord for the blessings He has given me, particularly for recently finding a very supportive and encouraging doctor. I’m afraid thanks haven’t been the first thing that have sprung from my lips during this season. I know that practicing thankfulness is always a good thing, whether you feel it or not. But sometimes I need a refresher course to remember the lessons and understanding I had earlier in my faith walk!
We know Scripture tells us to give thanks in all things, which sure doesn’t make sense when you are in pain or facing some serious trial. I think about Paul singing hymns to the Lord after he was flogged and put in prison, and wonder how that would even be possible, saint or not!
I remember having a serious conversation with the Lord about this one day when my back had gone on strike and I was lying in bed in a lot of pain. You mean I’m supposed be to thanking You now, Lord? And He was gracious enough to answer me in a way I could understand.
He explained it this way: Think about drawing a line in the sand, and on one side is the world, the flesh and the devil, and on the other side is the Kingdom of Heaven. When you give thanks to Me when you are in pain or distress, it puts you on the side of My Kingdom, under my jurisdiction, and open to receive My aid and sustenance. Even if you are saying thanks through clenched teeth, out of obedience rather than any feeling of thankfulness, it opens the resources of heaven.
But this morning as I lay in bed giving thanks, suddenly gratitude broke through and I actually felt such gratitude for His blessings! You can be obedient in giving thanks but you can’t just manufacture gratitude – it’s a gift. My heart was warmed and I felt real joy, which has been hard to come by lately. It was like the sun broke through on a stormy day!