I was thinking about thanksgiving and wondering if that word was used in the Bible. It is used twelve times, including these words that Paul writes in his second letter to the church at Corinth:
"You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God."
One way that we could read this verse is with the expectation that God will give us everything we desire, so that we could then share some of our blessings with others, and then give our thanks to God. That reading would be only partly correct.
Our error would be in reading "You will be enriched in every way" too literally, thinking that we could go through life without any kind of hardship or disappointment. The truth is that sometimes it is through hardship and disappointment that we come to understand unexpected ways in which God's hand has been present as rich blessing in our lives.
As the season of autumn deepens and Thanksgiving approaches I have been remembering some of the things I have to be thankful for this year. Those things are many. Some are fairly minor and others are things that have given me memories I will treasure for years.
But everything hasn't been perfect this year. There have been some disappointments, and times of hardship. The hardest thing that my family and I have dealt with this year has been the passing of our granddaughter, Raelyn. But as I think about the sudden loss of Raelyn I am also able to see the hand of God present with our family, a hand that brings peace and comfort that never fails.
Our loss wasn't the kind of situation where we could see God's comfort immediately, but when we did see it we also saw that it was always present. There was never a moment where it was absent or lost, as if for a moment God forgot to do what He was supposed to do. Even in the hardest times of our lives, God is always doing exactly what His word teaches over and over that He does.
Things such as these: He never stops being good. He never stops being holy. He never stops saving sinners. And as one of the saved, He never stops being the one to whom my thanksgiving should always be given to.
May this season of Thanksgiving be one in where you see the ways God has been present to you this year, and may He receive your thanks and praise.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.