by Elizabeth Margaret
Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 106:1 (KJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:2-5 (KJV)
Many of you have probably participated in this old family tradition. It is very common among folks from the United States during Thanksgiving. When families and friends gather around to celebrate Thanksgiving, each one of them takes turns to say what they are thankful for.
Many Christians add onto this tradition by including God. The question they often ask is “what are“Shouldn’t your thankful list be longer than your wants list?” you thankful to God for this year?” In my family, we have participated in this tradition several times. However due to the pandemic last year we skipped it.
Recently my mother has been inquiring about what I would like for Christmas. So, my mind has been more on what I want instead of on what I am thankful for. I think that when it comes to thankfulness most of the time we end up with a list of wants instead of a list of things we’re thankful for. I do this a lot, especially when I prayer to my Father.
I tell Him everything I want, but recently I’ve been hearing Him say, “Lizzy, what is something you’re thankful for?” and “Shouldn’t your thankful list be longer than your wants list?”
This is what led me to mention about the tradition of saying what we’re thankful for at the start of this lesson. Moreover, I imagined myself sitting at the table, with the things I wanted before Thanksgiving, and then answering the question. Honestly,“I am thankful for the hardships of this year. I know it might sound very strange to say that, but its true.” even if I did get what I wanted I could not say those things are what I am most thankful for during this year, rather it is something unexpected.
I am thankful for the pain, for the strife, for the rain, and the long nights during this year. I am thankful for the anxiety, and the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. Honestly, I am thankful for the hardships of this year. I know it might sound very strange to say that, but its true.
The Bible constantly tells us to be thankful to God. In Psalm 106:1 it says “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” This reminds us that God is good in everything he does. However, sometimes we forget to thank God for giving us what we need. Instead we tend to just thank him for the things he’s given us that we’ve wanted and have received.
Several days ago I was challenged head on with this concept of wants versus needs. There are so many things I want but do not need. There are so many things I need but do not want. Instead of just thanking God for all the things we want that we have “Sometimes we forget to thank God for giving us what we need.”received; we also must thank God for giving us the things we need even if they were not what we might have initially thought we wanted.
No one wanted the pandemic to hit the way it did, but I learned to listen more to God through it. My relationship with Him has become stronger. James 1:2-4 says “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
This reminds us that our faith is strengthened through hardship. It was through this time that I learned how I ought to pray and thank God. Moreover, I learned that begging God for my longings is not the way to pray. Instead I’ve started focusing more on“As humans we need to understand that what God has for us is way better than anything we could desire with just our human skin.” asking God about my desires while at the same time not dwelling solely on them. I’ve learned to accept that though I may not get what I want, I know I have received what I needed.
So, here is my challenge for you. Instead of thanking God this year for receiving what you wanted, thank God for something you did not want. As humans we need to understand that what God has for us is way better than anything we could desire with just our human skin. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we possess any power to pray within God’s will. “We need to be thankful for both the highs and lows of life.”
We need to be thankful for both the highs and lows of life. We need to be thankful for the rain and the “sunshine days” because through it all our relationship with our Father is strengthened. This is the most important part of our walk with the Lord; for as our relationship with our Father becomes stronger, so shall our lives. Our lives will start to display the Father’s will, and our desires will become the Father’s will and His alone.
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