It is not easy being thankful. We live in a thankless generation. I make an effort to teach my grandsons to say thank you. It just isn’t normal. There is nothing like a two year old saying “tenku gramma,” hoping the concept will stick when he eventually understands what it means. Please and thank you were good habits to learn.
However, true thanksgiving can only happen with an encounter with God. The miracle of transformation in hearts and minds is something to shout thanksgiving for. But what if the transformation hasn’t happened yet? What if you have been waiting to see that fulfilled promise and hope deferred for several years? How do you be thankful then? Let’s not pretend. We all have heard the words, spoken by Graham and many other great leaders and prophets, to be thankful before the outcome, to be present future in our minds and hearts, as a declaration of the reality. I so get that in my head, but I have refused to shout thank you when I don’t mean it. And there is the rub.
My refusal just sets me up for misjudging and mistrusting God. The truth is I don’t have to feel it, I have to believe it. The importance of gratitude and thanksgiving are all over the Bible. Sacrifice of praise is a form of thanksgiving. Just what is that exactly? It is praising when you just don’t feel like it. Not. One. Bit. But you KNOW a God who is bigger, and you realize how truly small you are in your need to see before being thankful.
I have a prodigal daughter. I am a nurturing, loving and forgiving Mom, who has no opportunity to pour that over my daughter, because I wasn’t always like that and she can’t forget it. It is hard to be thankful for her rejection, for her judgment, for her words that hurt. It also feels counter-intuitive. The world would say, “Why would you be thankful?” Thankful doesn’t mean you like the circumstances, or the person. Thankful means, my love isn’t big enough, but God’s is. I am thankful for her and because of her. I am having the opportunity to rise above who she is and see the miracle God is doing in that precious heart, and I am thankful that I have a God I can trust to hold her in His arms, and love her so much better than I could, with all my limited nurture, love and forgiveness. And I am thankful that she will one day be thankful, not to me, but to a God who loved her enough to bring her to her knees and know that he was always there through all the rejection, shame and abandonment.
I have been there. I am thankful I have the perspective on this side of the pain and the process. I am thankful for that too. I would not be who I am without it, and I really like what God is doing in my life.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. True prophecy is seeing the outcome through God’s eyes. We each have that, whether we see it or not. He has one over my daughter, over me, and each of His beloved creation. There is an unfulfilled prophecy over your life, even if you don’t see it. In fact, be thankful you don’t. Because it is bigger than you could think. I am thankful God didn’t answer my prayers for my daughter in the beginning when all I wanted was for her to come home so I could be Mom again. It took many years for me to pray that she would just find Jesus. And mean it. And knowing that would happen much more effectively with me out of the picture. Thank you Lord.
Whatever that one thing that has been unfulfilled or seemingly unanswered in your life, let today begin with a word of thanks on your lips for the fulfillment of that. If it matters to you it matters to God, Graham has said.
1 Thessalonians 5:18:
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
This month we’ve invited Warrior Class members to share their stories of thanksgiving and worship. Thank you to Doris Chapman for sharing her story with us! If you would like to learn more about The Warrior Class, please visit TWClass.org.
If you would like to share your story with us, please send an email to Media@BrilliantBookHouse.com