Here before I hit the sack for the night this beautiful Sabbath evening, I’ve just been just meditating on the past week. One of the things that hit me was that I had gotten away from being as thankful as I should be.
The thought that our woes outweigh our blessings is an easy one to entertain, but rarely is it an accurate one. In my life when I slow down and begin to look for those things that I should be thankful for, it really is amazing how endless the list becomes. And when I do take the time to stop and thank God for those things, it is just as amazing how small my concerns become — how a sense of perspective begins to emerge.
The passage of Scripture that came to mind concerning this was Philippians 4:6-7 —
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
That connection between peace and being thankful is easy to miss. Most of us are familiar with the concepts of praying to God and “casting all your care upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7), and this passage in Philippians mentions those things. Yet Paul purposefully includes the condition that we are to pray to God “with thanksgiving.” How often do we miss that?
If we are praying to God and seeking His peace but not finding it, could it be — at least sometimes — because we are missing that vital ingredient? Could it be because we are not praying with thanksgiving?
In the past I have encouraged those in my congregations to try, every once and a while, to spend time with God in prayer doing nothing but expressing thanks — not asking for anything but merely thanking Him. I have often been told that it is harder than it seems it should be, and I agree! And yet I have so much to be thankful about.
The Apostle Paul prophesied long ago that the end of the age would be a time of unthankfulness (2 Timothy 3:2). We have to remember that while we strive not to be of the world, we do live in it, and we are exposed to its influence daily. And I don’t want a lack of gratitude — an attitude of unthankfulness — to become a part of me. I imagine that you feel the same way.
I really do have so much to thank God for. Don’t you? May we all strive to be a truly thankful people, and in doing so may we experience that peace of God that surpasses all understanding even more fully.
Have a wonderful Sabbath.