Devotional | A New Kind of Thankfulness

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Why should we be thankful for what we don’t appreciate?

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV)

Most of us know this verse so well that we can quote it backwards. We don’t need to think hard to find something to be thankful for, do we? It’s easy to be thankful for who God is, for how He loves us, and for what He has done. But what about being thankful for things in life we don’t like and wish would change? What about being thankful for what hasn’t happened yet?

God recently challenged my lack of thankfulness. My initial response was WHY should I be thankful for things or people that bring pain or disappointment? Then God lovingly showed me that I wasn’t looking for a reason to be thankful, I was looking for an excuse not to be. I realized the things in my life which I refuse to be thankful for are actually things that I don’t believe He can restore.

“In everything give thanks.” Everything. Why? Because “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God’s will for you is restoration. I’m not saying we should be thankful for pain or disappointment, but we can be thankful for the opportunity that those things present. In sickness, we can be thankful that God can prove Himself to be our healer. In difficult relationships, we can be thankful for the opportunity to learn what real love and forgiveness is. In lack, we can be thankful that we can trust God as our faithful provider.

So, strange though it felt, I began to thank God for things that I didn't appreciate. And it was hard. Sometimes really hard. But you don't have to feel thankful in order to be thankful. Surprisingly, I soon found myself thanking God for the things which hadn’t happened yet. And before I knew it, my heart towards people had changed, I was quicker to forgive, and my faith had increased. I now believe He can and will restore those things which had previously seemed hopeless.

Being thankful for that which hasn’t happened yet is a leap of faith. It’s saying, “I can’t see it yet, but I believe you are faithful. I believe you can do it, and that you’re going to do it.” Then I realized, thankfulness isn’t for God, it’s for us. Thankfulness changes our hearts, it brings hope and allows God to bring restoration.

So, what or who is He asking you to be thankful for? See what restoration He will bring through it.