Life doesn’t have to be perfect to give God thanks
by Victor Leslie, Major –
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).
It is around 7:00 p.m. on my 21st birthday, and I walk into the hospital to visit my mother. She is in her mid-50s and although her last checkup had showed she was healthy, today she is recovering from surgery. As I greet her, I naively ask, “Mom, how are you doing?” Her reply: “Give thanks!”
I should have known! My mother had greeted me with these words “give thanks” for almost 20 years, and today not even this mild irritation of daily life could affect her remarkable strength, trust and desire to live each day as a wonderful opportunity for giving thanks. My mother truly believed in simply “praising our Savior all the day long” and often reminded me that giving thanks is like breathing—we need to do so every moment if we are to live life. Her perspective, passion and promise from life were in one accord: life doesn’t have to be perfect to give God thanks. We must always give thanks—when things are going well, when problems plague us and when the storm passes over us.
By the way, do not think that this truth of always giving thanks was my mother’s original idea. The Scriptures emphasize that it is God’s revealed will for all believers, as reflected in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The Word is clear, we must be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5: 20). The more we are aware of this reality, the easier to honor God and live with a constant spirit of thanksgiving to the One from whom all blessings flow. As God says, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me” (Psalm 50:23).
Our recent California fires visibly demonstrate this. It would seem that the natural human response would be anger, bitterness and thanklessness, but in interview after interview, people who lost their homes, and others whose lives had been devastated by the fire tornadoes, all could be heard giving thanks to God. Life was not perfect, but they were giving God thanks!
The songwriter says, “Thank you, Lord, for precious comfort in my hours of grief and pain, thank you, Lord, for fragrant flowers, growing right amid the weeds; thank you for the peace you give me even when my spirit bleeds” (The Salvation Army Song Book #552). When we start to give thanks, distress, doubts and despair somehow disappear, graciously replaced by the peace of God, the courage of the Son, the joy of the Holy Spirit and a hope that springs eternal.
Giving thanks is one sure way of syncing our lives with God’s love that always surpasses life’s biggest issues. Giving thanks helps us to respond to what life doles out with trust, faith and firm dependence upon God, transforming us into agents of blessing and thanksgiving. We always have a reason to give thanks! Today, I give thanks for a caring employee staff.
What thanks are you giving to God? Take a little quiet time for reflection, discernment, and re-commitment to always give thanks. Count your blessings! Give thanks to God for parents, without whom we would not be born. Give thanks to God for the gospel of salvation as revealed in the Scriptures and for his
It is now exactly 30 years since I hugged my mother good-bye—not knowing that she would die within a few hours. I still hear her gently singing in that hospital room, “Lord I thank you for joy of living, Lord, I thank you for the stars above, Lord, I thank you for the joy of giving unto others, Lord, I thank you all your tender love!” Giving thanks ought to be a lifestyle. Really! Life doesn’t have to be perfect to give God thanks.
Psalm 100 gives us reassurance: “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
So, as Mom would say, “Give thanks!”