“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:19-21
I was in a ghastly situation. I looked around frantically and desperately as I felt my world falling apart before me. I blamed myself, I blamed others and I blamed God for it all falling apart. I felt as if I were losing my very identity, everything that made me who I was. The ability to live independently, work hard to make a good living, my health, and hanging out with friends had all slowly started crumbling in my hands. Friends were not able to help, the job and money dried up, and soon after, my home was gone. I thought surely I had unrepentant sin I should confess, or maybe I affronted God. I even thought maybe in another life, I had upset God and this was my punishment. None of this was true. What was true was God’s love, His word and His presence. Prior to these events, I had prayed bold prayers, asking God to tear down idols, false doctrine and teaching that I’d learned, and redeem me so that He’d get the maximum glory from my entire life. I thought that these prayers would simply help align me with God’s Word so that I’d be a better Christian. Nowhere in my mind did I think that when I asked to be stripped of the superficial, that I actually would be stripped of everything!
Now you’d think this is a hard situation to be thankful for. Although the situation was certainly real, painful and downright humiliating, I have become thankful for it all. I became thankful that my Lord loves me enough to break down every idol and every false thing that was not of Him. I would have hated to live a nice comfortable life here on earth only to get before my King and hear him say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). So as I rebuild, I have learned to be more grateful for the few friends I do have, more appreciative of my health and stewardships, more thankful to my Lord and His loving process of redemption and sanctification in my life. During the pruning and shaking up of my life, I started to really see that God is truly everywhere. He is in the intricate design of every snowflake, the color change of the leaves in the autumn, the cooling breeze on a hot summer day. In all things that have been made, God’s eternal power and divine nature are all around us. And sometimes we can be just like the Romans and forget to thank Him for all that we have. One of the first marks of rejecting God is forgetting to thank Him. So I ask you this; are you dishonoring God by not giving thanks? Psalm 103:2 reminds us that in giving thanks, we remember from where our blessings come from, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Giving thanks reminds us of our redemption, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:1-2).
So let’s not get so content with our lives that we forget to be thankful to the giver, redeemer and sanctifier of our lives.