Not everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving…especially this year. Many are out of work; have issues relating to health, children, or family. Some are facing the holiday season for the first time as they mourn the loss of a loved one or as a divorcee.
So, what happens to our thanksgiving and praise when our peace disintegrates into chaos?
As I go through trial after trial, circumstance after circumstance, what happens to my praise and thanksgiving? What happens when my day is darkened with a multitude of problems? Do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet! When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him? Absolutely! When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him?
Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)
I have learned to transform my attitude into one of gratitude as Habakkuk did.
In the closing words of his book, the prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)
Paul’s statement is now mine, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want.” (Phil. 4:12 TLB) This statement has taken up residence in my heart, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB)
Are life’s fiery darts aimed at your life, attempting to puncture your heart? What seeps out of your heart? Whatever is going on in your life, there is always room for thanksgiving! It is the sacrificial gift of your heart. So what does it cost you?
A true, sacrificial gift may cost you the surrender of your money, as you give sacrificially like the widow who gave her two mites. It may cost you the surrender of your time, as you sacrifice to put God first. It may cost you the surrender of your heart, as you sacrifice your love to those who hate you. It may cost you the surrender of your lips, as you sacrifice your praise to God when all seems lost.
Though you may be going through some really rotten things right now, praise the Lord anyway. Praise and thanksgiving may not change your surroundings but it will change your attitude.
Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year holiday. Thanksgiving is an eternal season of the heart, an overflow of the heart’s gratitude for all that God has done and is going to do and for everything one possesses, no matter how much or how little that may be.
Will you have Habakkuk’s attitude this Thanksgiving season? Don’t let Thanksgiving get stuck in your throat! May the Lord touch you in a special way this Thanksgiving. May it become an eternal season in your heart.
Thanksgiving blessings, Lynn
Lynn Mosher is a regular contributor to RUBY magazine. You can read more of her devotional posts on her blog at www.lynnmosher.com