My children sometimes think it is funny that before we eat, we give thanks to God for the food. “Shouldn’t we wait until we have tried it first? How can we know whether we will be thankful for it or not?” The idea is that they are not very thankful for the collared greens and cabbage that we cruelly force them to eat. It isn’t hard to be thankful for pizza and ice cream; they are more than willing to thank God and us loudly for good things, but aren’t there things for which is it impossible to be thankful?
Not according to God. He says this in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Notice that it says “in every thing give thanks.” There is nothing for which we ought not give thanks. Give thanks for my cold? Give thanks for my pains? Give thanks for my broken car? Give thanks for snow? The Bible says that we ought to give thanks for every thing, and that it is the will of God that we do so.
The truth is that everything that we have is a gift from God, given from a loving Creator. The apostle Paul had no problem with finding something in all of his trials for which to give thanks. He said in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” He knew that all the things through which he was going would result in him being stronger and closer to Christ. He didn’t understand it all, but he knew that God was infinitely wiser and more loving than he, and that He did.
With that in mind, when you gather around your tables tomorrow and give thanks, perhaps you might want to give thanks for something a little unconventional. Maybe you’ll say, “I am thankful for my pain, though I don’t understand why I have it.” Perhaps you’ll say, “I am thankful for the difficulties of this past year, and I trust God for the rest of it.” Who knows? You might even hear “I am thankful for this broccoli, even though I can’t stand the taste of it!”
It’s a start. In EVERY thing give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.