Be sure to take special time and make special effort to stop and give thanks to God. It’s a tough thing to imagine doing when one has been bombarded with messages about how miserable we all are and how terrible things happen to be, yet doing so helps to set us free from the chains of depressing self-absorption and resentments emanating from frustrated expectations.
Think about it. Nothing does so much to inform our hearts of the good things we have in life and have experienced so much as tearing away our eyes from what we don’t have, others seem to enjoy, and false promises for happiness this world offers as fixing our gaze on things we do have, have enjoyed, and brought peace and happiness to our lives.
An unthankful people are an unhappy people. But if we recognize that God in His mercy and goodness actually has customized blessings for us if we’ll choose to stop to acknowledge them, we are pushing out of our hearts the venom of dissatisfaction and enviousness as well as the anxiety of feeling like we’re missing something.
There is one thing in particular for which we’ve been made and without which we cannot find true and lasting happiness that God grants us in abundance if we’ll simply receive it. This is the one thing we do not want to miss out on. It is this: to know the Father and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. This is the most important desire of God for you and me, that we know Him, truly know Him as He is in all His perfection, glory, and love! In fact, this is how Jesus defines eternal life in John 17:3: an enduring into eternity kind of relationship with Him in which our sin no longer has a hold of us and the world no longer holds a place in our hearts.
See? There is much to be thankful for. In addition to the fact that God does provide for your needs (when He certainly doesn’t owe you that), and beyond the truth that God has given you a special uniqueness that no other person can duplicate, God has given you the opportunity to know Him as Lord and Savior through Jesus Christ. And with that come the blessings of being His child: His presence, His support, His watch care and provision for you if you’ll walk with Him through each day. Even His discipline is a blessing if you’ll receive it for what it is: God’s work to first of all, draw you closer to Himself; secondly, to purify and refine your heart and character of those things that would steal His peace and joy from you; and finally to demonstrate His God-sized love for you and readiness to work powerfully in your life.
So, instead of allowing yourself to be duped into thinking you’ve got a bad deal in life, you need this thing or that thing to be happy, or that somehow others are ruining your life, turn your eyes to God and look at Him through the lens of His Son’s perfect sacrifice for you. Stop worrying and stop rushing. Stop and look. Stop and give thanks. Stop and be free… to experience God’s joy and peace anew!
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” (Psalm 95:1-2 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)