In Everything, Give Thanks

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, and I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating all that God has done for you. Perhaps it’s been a challenging last year for you and your family, but all the more opportunity for God to demonstrate His faithfulness and His grace. Give thanks to the Lord, for He IS good, even in the tough times. Thank you, Jesus, for your redeeming love.

Jonah 2:6-9 says, “To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Jonah praised God who rescued him from the pit—in his case the belly of a great fish, an exceedingly unpleasant place. Just thinking about it makes me grateful that no matter what else happens to me today, it won’t likely include sloshing around in the digestive system of a giant sea creature. Already I feel better about the rest of this day!

Reflecting on God’s rescue from the plight he’d brought upon himself through disobedience, Jonah is thankful and becomes motivated to make personal sacrifices to serve God more faithfully.

Elisabeth Elliot, one of my heroes, writes, “On one of those terrible days during my husband’s cancer, when he could hardly bear the pain or the thought of yet another treatment, and I could hardly bear to bear it with him, we remarked on how wonderful it would be to have just a single ordinary day.”

How many of us fail to express gratitude for those ordinary days, wishing instead for something better? If you’ve had a single ordinary day recently, why not thank God for it? Don’t wait for an extraordinary day when you feel wonderful and everything goes your way. That day may not come. And if it does, God’s hand will be no more in it than in all your other days.

Puritan pastor Richard Baxter wrote, “Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can.… Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart.”

Baxter is right—expressing gratitude makes a grateful heart. Children who learn to say thanks become more thankful. Gratitude is a perspective-shaping habit.

Father, as you rescued Jonah from the great fish, you will rescue us from lesser calamities, and in some cases perhaps greater ones. Help us to be grateful for ordinary days. And during our bad days, remind us of what you are preparing for us—endless days filled with goodness and abundance, where we will look back with amazed delight at your deliverance and look forward with anticipation of the endless wonders yet to come.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries