Thanksgiving. Something that should be innate to believers. In everything give thanks, right? God is good all the time and...you know the rest. Thanksgiving and praise should ring forth out of our hearts and off of our lips every day, at least once a day to meet the required Christian quota, or so we're taught. But what if that's not what happens? What if you aren't really seeing anything in your life to be thankful for? What if your health is failing, your finances are insufficient, you hate your job, or you're still single? What if you're really not thankful?
You are not alone. Often in the Bible, we can see men and women who were unhappy and dissatisfied with where they were in life. Elijah was trying to be killed by Jezebel so he went out to a field and asked God to kill him. That doesn't sound like he was too grateful for life. Naomi lost both of her sons, only had 2 daughter in-laws, and a debt. She told her daughter in-laws to go back to where they were from and just forget about her. She didn't seem grateful to have them with her. Job lost everything he had except his wife and his life and still had the audacity to 'go off' on the God of the universe. Job didn't seem grateful for what was left. Jesus prayed that there be another way other than the cross. He didn't seem grateful to die. John was exiled to the island of Patmos. Although he wrote the book of Revelations, I doubt he was grateful to be on an island alone for an extended period of time.
So what do you do when you're ungrateful? Shift your focus. Oftentimes, it is easy to see all of the bad in any situation. Research has shown that bad or deleterious memories and emotions stick with us longer than happy or exciting memories and emotions do. In other words, we remember and attach to the bad more than the good. Although, this may be the truth, as believers we have a different truth. We always have a different reason to be thankful. The objective truth of the gospel is that a perfect Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) came to an imperfect earth, put on this sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), lived a perfect life (Hebrews 7:26), died a death meant for us (Rom. 4:25), and was raised for our reconciliation with God (Rom. 5:10).
When we shift our focus from subjective, temporal situations and people and onto the almighty Savior of the universe, thanksgiving rings from our hearts. When we remove our selfish, sinful desires and look at the One who is true, just, gracious, and loving, we can only be grateful. Not to undermine our emotions and feelings, because God does care and wants to hear about what troubles and worries us (1 Peter 5:7). However, we can't focus or dwell in negativity and ungratefulness with a Savior like Jesus.
This thanksgiving in those times when you don't feel the most grateful, ask yourself what are you truly thankful for?
Here young adults share their struggles and victories to encourage you on your Christian journey. You are never alone! God is with and for you and we always praying for you!