I began our last devotion saying, “I love God’s timing.” I was so excited that Psalm 136 was all about thanking and praising God … it was perfect for this Thanksgiving week.
Then I read Psalm 137…
Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and weptPsalm 137:1–2
as we thought of Jerusalem.
We put away our harps,
hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S. and today’s Psalm is written by an Israelite weeping over the anguish of living as a captive in Babylon.
My first reaction was to think about all the ways these words don’t align with thankfulness at all … but then the Spirit gave me a little nudge reminding me of the number of people who are facing all kinds of life circumstances that could be causing them to feel anything but thankful. It’s hard to be thankful when life’s upsetting and distressing!
Spend a few minutes reading through the prayers added to our Prayer Page and you’ll be as touched as I am by the number of people experiencing overwhelmingly difficult problems.
There are prayer requests for…
- loved ones suffering from mental illness.
- individuals and their loved ones fighting life-threatening illnesses.
- people who are missing their estranged family members.
- families facing extreme financial difficulties.
- men and women grieving the death of someone they dearly loved.
- add pain, addiction, moves, conflict, and a world in turmoil.
Did I spoil your Thanksgiving spirit?
I hope not because that is exactly the point!
The Bible doesn’t tell us to only be thankful when life is blissful and our relationships are perfect. It tells us…
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Lord understands that we aren’t going to be thankful FOR all circumstances but He wants us to be thankful in all circumstances. In spite of what is going on around us, if we KNOW, TRUST, and LOVE God our Creator, Savior, and Helper … we have plenty of reasons to be thankful.
God is good all the time and nothing that is evil comes from Him.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.Romans 5:12
Sin entered the world and spread throughout until everything was affected by the works of the enemy of our souls.
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.Romans 5:18
If you and I had nothing else to be thankful for today, that would be more than enough.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.Ephesians 1:3
The Life Application Notes add…
“In Christ, we have all the benefits of knowing God—being chosen for salvation, being adopted as His children, forgiveness, insights, the gifts of the Spirit, power to do God’s will, the [certain] hope of living forever with Christ.”
Let’s thank and praise God for the blessing of His unfailing love and faithfulness…
So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.Ephesians 1:6–8
Yes, this week we will thank and praise God for our families and friends, careers and homes, food and clothing, etc. There are always things in our daily lives for which we are to be thankful.
But I want to also pause this week and thank and praise Him for the everlasting spiritual blessings we enjoy because of His grace, mercy, and love.
In Christ Jesus…
- we are holy and blameless through forgiveness.
- we have the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit.
- we have the sure hope of an eternity in His presence in the heavenly realm.
- we are free, righteous, equal, and loved by God the Father.
- we have everything we need to KNOW, TRUST, LOVE, and OBEY.
So, let’s be thankful and pray…
A Prayer to Be Thankful Even When Life’s Upsetting
Father, if you never gave me another earthly blessing, I would still have countless reasons to be thankful every day. You have given me life. You have given me love. You sent Jesus to make it possible for me to be forgiven and free … and live forever and always in Your loving care and presence.
I am so easily distracted by life’s upsetting circumstances. Our lives are touched by heartache and pain. You allow us to live out the consequences of our own sinful behavior and the sinful behavior of others. Illness, broken relationships, wars, loss, and death are all the result of sin in the world. Lord, we need Your help and forgiveness. We need Your care and provision.
Your Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV) And, “We have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1b–2)
What a wonderful reason to be thankful! Whatever is going on in my life, Jesus is my Savior and Advocate … and He is all I need now and forever. So, by Your grace, I will SEEK You first in my life and trust Your promise to give me everything I need. (Matthew 6:33)
I will thank and praise You now and forever … You have forgiven me and freed me from sin, eternal death, and the power of the enemy. You have made me Your child. You are everything I need. Amen.
I’ll admit that if asked, Rev and I would not have chosen this year’s challenges.
But with that being said, we have so very much for which we are thankful. The Lord has shown us that His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Our Savior Jesus—our Advocate has been with us giving us strength, peace, and eternal hope.
If you’re facing an upsetting situation today, we’d love to pray for you. Please leave your request in the comments here or on the Blessing Counters Prayer Page.
May the Lord be with you and bless you with His all-sufficient grace as He gives you strength, peace, and hope.
We would love to pray for you.
You can leave your prayer requests here…
and even take a few minutes to pray over the list left by our friends.
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