The world is filled with thankless people and ingratitude is a core trait of unbelievers. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way when writing to the Roman Church, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Romans 1:21). Natural man usually sees positive circumstances as either a matter of good luck or that their success is the product of pulling things together through hard work. There is little interest in being thankful to the Lord for His goodness and common grace.
Conversely, a believer is thankful. During regeneration the believer receives a new nature through the work of the Spirit. Inclusive in His sanctifying work is a heart of thanksgiving towards God. The believer grows in grace and, in turn, thanks God for everything. Stated another way, genuine thankfulness is evidence that God is at his work in the life of His child.
Luke 17:11-19 tells a story of ten lepers who cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Jesus saw them, was moved with compassion and healed them. Sadly, although ten were healed, only one returned to Jesus, glorifying God and giving thanks – ten asked God for mercy, nine failed to be thankful. Unfortunately, there are times when believers, like the lepers, ask God for help and forget to give thanks.
Our bounty of thanksgiving, even during the twists, bends and flips of life is founded on a right understanding of God. The reason for ongoing thanksgiving is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Thanksgiving is an admission of dependence on God who controls all things. Through Scripture, prayer, and the wise council of fellow believers, our confidence grows, as we see His hand of provision. We learn to observe the ways that He is at work in all of our circumstances, even when the path is difficult and unclear, for our good. God is never surprised or caught off guard in adversity, scrambling to make the best out of a hard situation. On the contrary, the Sovereign Lord knows how He is going to use the problem for our good, before it enters our world.
So, if you are a struggling Christian, trust your trustworthy God, He is near. Be assured that in His sovereign love and wisdom you can be confident that He is in control of everything and the ultimate outcome will be your everlasting good.
- Selby Brannon