Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I’m reminded that it’s a good idea for me to take time and appreciate the many blessings God has poured into my life.
Actually, we should give thanks for everything . . . not only the things that please us. We are urged in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
One of the wonderful things about being thankful is that it usually leads to feeling joyful. When your circumstances get you down, especially because you can’t seem to change them, try changing your attitude and being thankful.
I remember reading about how much lighting will affect the perceived colour of an object. A yellow chair is yellow no matter where you put it. But its appearance will change dramatically depending on whether it is in a dark room or in sunshine or in lamplight.
Similarly, our attitudes affect the way we perceive the situations in our lives. If my heart is dark, even the most wonderful event or gift will look dreary. But if I’m living in the Light (i.e. if I've responded to God's invitation to be in relationship with Him), allowing Him to flood the corners of my heart with His brilliance, I will be able to face even the most dreary situation with His grace and strength.
Here are a few examples of how a change in “lighting” can brighten and enrich our lives and suddenly make them seem full of blessings—so many that we can’t even count them!
- Thank God for the dishes in your sink. It means that you’ve been blessed with food to keep you nourished.
- Thank God for the long drive or ride to work. It means you’ve got a job, plus it gives you uninterrupted time to talk with Him and prepare for the day ahead.
- Thank God for your messy house. It means you have a roof over your head that provides shelter, warmth and privacy.
Perhaps these are overly simple examples. What about the person suffering from cancer and its treatments? What about the person who has just lost a loved one? What about the person whose savings have just been wiped out?
I don’t have the answers to those tough questions. But that verse in 1 Thessalonians goes on to say, “. . . for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” (This is in reference to the instruction to give thanks, not that the difficult circumstances are God's will for us.) If something is God’s will for us, that must mean that He provides a way. As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
This Thanksgiving, don’t just thank God for the easy things. Ask Him to shed His light on the difficult things so that you can be thankful for them, too.
P.S. (Click here to check out the story behind the beautiful painting above by Mike Manley, which demonstrates how lighting affects a colour's appearance.)