That may sound clique to you, but consider that my life has not been a flowery bed of ease. My parents divorced when I was young, which caused me to sink into depression. Because of that, I almost took my own life at the age of 14. When I was about to head off to Bible School, there was a huge disagreement that arose in my home church, causing more trouble than I care to go into…but in the end my Pastor of 11 years ended up leaving.
Upon returning from Bible School to that same church, we closed down our Christian School, which was emotional for many. That Christmas, I was falsely accused of theft from the bookstore I was working at, and even though I was cleared I was asked to leave (the manager who accused me and asked me to leave, it turns out later, was the thief). I was also in a terrible car wreck that, according to police and EMT’s, should have killed or crippled me.
Skipping forward several years, I had a pastor/employer who mistreated me and then lied about me to the people in my ministry all for the sole purpose of saving face. Sadly, that wasn’t the only time in ministry when people who were hurt for various reasons decided that I somehow was the one they should take their frustrations out on…So I know how Paul felt being chased from town to town with people angry and lying about him, even though he only told the truth.
And yet, I serve a great God.
I serve a God who has restored relationships that i figured were destroyed beyond repair. I serve a God who, despite when i missed his voice, still blessed me time and time again, supernaturally providing for my family and moving in my ministry. I serve a God who forgives all my faults and failures, even when others have wanted to constantly remind me of them. I serve a God who saves, delivers, and heals. I could go on and on about ways He has moved despite me or even in spite of me!
So yes, i am thankful. I am thankful because my God is greater than my circumstances. He is greater than the challenges I’ve faced. He was there in the pits of depression, He was their in the wilderness experience, He was there when I foolishly did what I wanted instead of what He wanted…and He’s here even now as I walk through this life with an incredible wife, a great church family, and everything I could ever want or need.
I don’t praise and thank my God just because of the things that I have. I praise and thank my God because I know I don’t deserve any of them, and yet, He has used me, blessed me, protected me, directed me, refined me, challenged me, shaped me, broken me, and put me back together.
- Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light Colossians 1: 12
- Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! 2 Corinthians 9: 15
- At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Ephesians 5: 20
- Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2: 7
I really love that last verse, because is so tells the story of why I am where i am today. My roots are in Christ, and therefore even when the storms blow and the rains of life pour down, I have an anchor in Him that lets me say with confidence: “None of these things move me.”
What are you thankful for? Look beyond the obvious and choose to see the many, many ways that God blesses you.