It's so easy for us to fall into a cycle of thinking about what we do not have, yet we are richly blessed. We have a father that loves us, cares for us, and will never abandon us. Our heavenly Father loves us so much that he has provided for all of our needs, even to the point of extreme sacrifice just so that we would not miss out on the most important aspect of life. It's easy, however, to get distracted from what we really need and think about what we do not have or what we want. Specifically there are times when we may think that we do not have enough ___ [fill in the blank; money, house, things, faith; hope; love, etc.] yet God provides abundantly, according to our need.
In my own life, I have seen extraordinary examples of God's provision in many areas of my life. I was able to share some of these examples today. This Thanksgiving, I was unable to be with my family; however, some friends from church invited me to join their celebration of thanks. After the meal, we met in the living room to share what we were thankful for. Once we got past the tangible things that we are thankful for, we talked about some of the intangibles: relationships, spiritual growth, family, salvation, peace, joy, and love. In other words, we were able to leave the realm of stuff (things) and focus on what I believe are the more important things in life.
My family and I have experienced many blessings since my mother-in-law's stroke. Many people have reached out to our family in acts of kindness or in prayer. We've had many physical and financial needs during this time and all of them have been met, even when I did not see it, understand it, or know about it. Through what could easily be a terrifying and discouraging time, we've enjoyed an unreasonable sense of peace. That does not mean things are easy - they are not - but we know that we are not alone. In other words, our basket is full, and we know that it's not only because of our own doing. I know that the peace and blessings we've experienced all come from God, our heavenly Father - not because of anything I've done, but because of His goodness and kindness toward us. I am truly grateful. The challenge, for me, is to remember this on a daily basis and not just on a holiday set aside for this purpose.
A attitude of thanksgiving reveals our character.
As we reflect on this past year, we have so much to be thankful for that it's not possible to adequately describe this in one blog entry or even in one day set aside for this purpose. Ronald Reagan, in his 1986 thanksgiving day proclamation, wrote:
Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow. Both as individuals and as a people, we join with the Psalmist in song and praise: "Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good."Thanksgiving is the recognition that God is good and that He is the source of all blessings.
I believe that thanksgiving should be the continuous response of a grateful heart to a Holy and loving God and I commit this year to further developing a grateful heart.