It’s funny how we hear all these truths from the Bible, in church, in songs, and even day-to-day conversations, and completely forget or become desensitized to them. I want to point out one in particular, one that is very very important yet very very often forgotten: that is, thankfulness.
Not surprisingly, I was reminded of this truth during the first day of my church’s VBS program today. The theme was gratitude, and being surrounded by stories and activities that reflected this character trait caused me to reflect on a lot of things in my life I take for granted. I have a home, food, siblings, both of my parents, 3 of my grandparents, a wonderful church with an excellent youth group, a group of brothers that hold me accountable, sisters in the church that properly teach me how to deal with beings with double-X chromosomes (x.x), opportunities to serve in ministry, a private school with at least 60% less temptations than a public school would have, and so, so much more.
I understand many people do not have what I have. However, I ignore that fact and continue to want for things that I don’t necessarily need. A lot of my wants are legitimate, but perhaps God is happy with me where I am for now and will bring in answers for those needs later, when I need them more. I remember wishing i had someone my age to talk to about my faith, standards, etc. ever since I was 13 years old. I looked on in jealousy at the people who did have someone, and wished and wished and tried and tried to get just even one guy. All of them failed, because it wasn’t God’s timing. However, I noticed in the years that followed that God WAS bringing people my age into my life, just not the way I expected, and not as close in age either. However, this past year he has blessed me with the opportunity to fellowship more closely with brothers within a 2-year range of my age (17), and allow me to build the friendships I’ve wanted since 4 years ago.
Through this experience, and many others, as I reflect on what God has done in my life instead of what I think He should do, I’m reminded to be grateful for everything I have. God knows my needs, He knows my wants. If they align with His will for my life, He will give them to me. However, He will give it in His time and not whenever I want it. He knows what is best for me; He even knows what and when before I ask! Also, I should be grateful for everything I have, because Jesus did save me and brought me salvation and an eternal intimacy with the Lord. He does not owe me anything yet offers these blessings so freely despite all I’ve done. If anything, I should be on my knees in adoration and thankfulness for all He has given me.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
– James 1:17
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.
– Hebrews 12:28
I need to be thankful, because if I’m thankful, I will anticipate and appreciate God’s blessings even more. He gives when He wants, and takes when He wants. But I rest assured that if I follow Him faithfully, He will also be faithful in providing for me and blessing me.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:23
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.
– Job 1:21
And with trials and suffering, rejoice in them because I know God uses trials to teach me lessons I cannot otherwise learn, as well as draw me closer to Him as I stretch out and strengthen my faith, hope, and trust in His plan for my life.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8:28
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thus, I’ve resolved to make a Gratitude List in my journal, where I will dedicate several pages to listing all the things I’m grateful for. I will be adding to this list whenever I get reminded of something new I should give thanks for. If you want, you can join me in making these lists, and truly “count our blessings and see [all of] what God has done.” 🙂
P.S. I would love to hear from you about the things you’re grateful for. Just drop me a message on my Contact Me page, or send me an email at the address listed there. Thanks! 🙂