Shift Thankfulness into Overdrive

by Impact Church

…Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1Cor. 2:8

Giving thanks is the expected response when prayers are answered, or when things desired are finally possessed. And it’s natural that pleasant friends, prosperity and positive futures create space for appreciation and thankfulness.

Yet, nothing challenges the heart like a journey chocked with uncertainties and complexities. Life in that lane requires a deep-seated trust in the providence and sovereignty of God. And when we experience things abstract, painful or seemingly unnecessary, it’s then the heart is truly checked. We’re thus comforted by scriptural accounts of those who, after setbacks, rejections and tragedies, are found later restored, elevated or given prominence.

As a witness to faith, Joseph’s life seemed to be a puzzling contradiction to everything planned and prophesied. The dreams of leadership and lofty glory seemed no more than LaLa Land when the realities of his life settled in.

And the contradictions of that young man are many: favored, yet frustrated; anticipating, yet disappointed; hopeful, yet shackled; righteous, yet accused; serving, yet unnoticed; loving, yet forgotten; promised, yet delayed; true, yet misunderstood.

On one axiom we can rely: Life is perplexing, but God is forever constant and faithful!

And as the above text of Jesus states, had Satan and the powers of hell possessed prior knowledge of Calvary’s victorious outcome – well, they would have never treated Him so cruelly! So it is with those simply resting in God’s providence and foreknowledge! We can be assured then that every dark attack, strategy, weapon or scheme is subject to the ability of God to destroy, or be used, for good! And remember, the scriptures admonish us often – that after we’ve done the will of God, we need to exercise patience, knowing we’ll soon receive the full promise!

So what profit does thankfulness bring to the table when life rolls out experiences contrary to faith and hope? How in any meaningful way is a grateful heart helpful, when everything seen and felt smacks of contradictions? Is thankfulness merely a prescription to dull the senses, a subtle distraction from reality, or a sinister bribe with the tinsel of false hopes? Is gratitude no more than busy work, an attempt to sedate the mind, or an alternative medicine to override the natural inclinations of complaints and murmurs?

No! No! No! And a thousand times, No!

Thankfulness is the confident declaration that faith has a strong grasp on God’s innumerable promises! And furthermore, thankfulness is the armor no arrow of doubt can penetrate! Knowing that time and circumstances are Satan’s most effective strategies in destroying trust and faith, a grateful heart looks past both of Satan’s strengths! Thankful hearts are convinced that time and changeable elements are no match for the eternality of God’s word and character!

Equipped with such knowledge and eager for its application, this Thanksgiving week would be an excellent time to shift thankfulness to overdrive! Why not after counting the many blessings we’ve already received, let’s give God some hearty thanks for the yet unseen ways He’s working things out in unfinished business even now, for our good and His glory? Why not, as the scriptures encourage, give Him thanks in everything, and for everything- even when it seems a long ways from a decent closing? Would not the ever present darkness of confusion and fear be driven out when a confident heart calls those things that are not as though they were? Would not a thankful heart calm the storms of anxiety and stress and worship God for the promises of His care before we understood how it would all work out?

I’m convinced the continual sound of raw praise rooted in faith-based gratitude remains Satan’s central nemesis and the Church’s most underused battle cry!

Happy Thanksgiving, Impact Church!

P.S. That women’s conference set a mighty high bar! So good!