My grandfather has been reminding us to be thankful lately. When everything seems overwhelming and full of stress, distress, and mayhem in your life, it’s a good reminder. It can be tempting to let the problems and issues overwhelm you. But then I remember what my grandfather has been reminding us of lately, “be thankful in all things…”
All things. ALL things. When I start to realize all the problems, dangers, and terrors that others in this world are facing, I find so much to be thankful for. The problems seem smaller and smaller when you start to count the blessings. Blessings of God’s protection and safety, His provision for my physical needs, His loving care for me that doesn’t change no matter what I’ve done. God is working in ways I may not understand, but if I knew what He knows, I wouldn’t want Him to do anything different than He is doing right now.
Truly, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
Who knows if my circumstances are to teach me something more valuable than gold, or if they are bringing to pass my very requests to God (to know Him, to obey Him, to trust Him). When there is a problem, it’s time to be thankful, because who knows what wonderful good that God is working out? (see Romans 8:28).
This little parable from The Searcher illustrates the point:
A Parable of Thankfulness
There once was a man who considered himself more devout and pious than the rich nobles of the kingdom in which he lived.
All that he had to live in was a humble little hut. “Oh Lord,” he cried, “Why can’t I live in a palace like all those others? Am I not a better man than they?”
All that he had to eat was beans, rice and bread. “Oh Lord,” he cried, “Why can’t I eat a feast everyday like all those others? Am I not a better man than they?”
All that he had to wear was coarse, but sturdy wool. “Oh Lord,” he cried, “Why can’t I wear fine linen and soft silk like all those others? Am I not a better man than they?”
All that he had for money was what he earned with his skill as a potter. “Oh Lord,” he cried, “Why wasn’t I born wealthy like all those others? Am I not a better man than they?”
Then there came a tremendous storm: It destroyed his hut. It spoiled all his food. It ripped and tore all his clothes. It broke all his pottery.
“Oh Lord,” he cried, “Why have you done this to me? All those others were left untouched by the storm. But I have lost all that I own. Am I not a better man than they?”
Then the Lord spoke to the man: “I gave you a simple hut to shelter you from the turning of the seasons, a place to rest when you grew weary, that you might learn the difference between what you need and what you desire.
“I gave you simple food to eat to bring you strength and give you life, that you might learn gratitude in all things.
“I gave you simple clothes to give you warmth and cover your nakedness, that you might learn humility and self-worth.
“I gave you a simple skill with the potter’s wheel so you would be a beggar to no man, that you might learn to unselfishly serve others.
“All these things I had given you, but all you could see was lack. You felt that you were impoverished when I had made you rich. You only saw what others had and felt you deserved those things more than they. If you had been thankful for what you were given and rejoiced in what I had blessed others with, then indeed, you would have been a better man than they, and instead of losing all that you had, more would have been added unto you.”
What a reminder! When you see a problem, remember that God is doing something that you can be thankful for. What problems are you thankful for today?
— B. Payne