Does anyone else notice that people are less polite these days?
Politeness seems to be a lost art. Please and thank you’s are rarely heard. I am old fashioned and I crave, yes, crave, politeness. Niceties. Love them. “Please” and “thank you’s” settle me. Make me smile.
I still remember one Christmas family gathering, when my daughter was around four years old and one of the uncles was tickling my wee one; one who hated to be tickled. She looked directly into the tickling uncle’s eyes and said “No, please”.
He almost jumped back, looked up at us, the parents, with a shocked expression and said “I can’t tickle someone who says ‘please’”. Please and thank you’s are almost shocking – they have impact.
God says some interesting things about thank-you’s.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name”.
Hebrews 13: 15
Giving thanks – or praise -is referred to as a sacrifice. Why?
God understands our hearts. He knows when things are going well, we may enjoy taking a bit of the credit. And, during difficult times, well, if you’re anything like me, it isn’t my to-to natural response. It’s easy after receiving a wonderful gift, or when blessings seem to be pouring into my life.
But, what about during hardships? What about when life has gifted you or I with a difficult family member? Or a health problem? Or financial difficulties? Or life has dealt us an unexpected hit of ________ (you fill in the blank).
What do we do when life isn’t turning out as planned? What then?
I’ve been there. I’ve struggled for over ten years with a chronic health problem. After several years of frequent and fervent praying for my health, I felt the nudge of God on my heart to give thanks, even in this.
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thess 5:18
It isn’t easy. It isn’t natural. It doesn’t make sense.
Do you have an ‘even in this‘ place? A place where thanks is the last thing you want to do, or even consider doing.
And, it is here, ‘even in this’, that God asks – no, He tells me – Give thanks.
Thanks alters our vision – causes us to look at God, rather than our problems..
Thanks is an exercise in trust.
Trusting God is able to work in and through all things for good. We do this not because everything is good, but because God is good and is able to work His best, His very life, in everything.
‘Eucharisteo (giving thanks) preceeds the miracle’. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts).
Perhaps, thanks giving ushers in the blessing – even the miracle – by inviting God into our situation and allowing Him to do His holy work in our lives. For me, my healing began some time after I started this obedience of giving thanks. God’s transforming power works best in a surrendered heart, readied to receive all God has for us.
This day, let us give thanks, fulfilling God’s will, and inviting God ‘in’ to the deepest places in our souls.