As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been reflecting over the last few months. They’ve been really, really hard. Many of you know my father passed away in late September. After Dad’s death, Mom’s Alzheimer’s worsened significantly. So my brother and I had to make the hard decision to get her a higher level of care than she could get at home.

So here we’ve been – experiencing grief, loss, and tough decisions.

And now, I’m forced to turn to Thanksgiving. Family is coming. There’s a turkey waiting to be fried.

Thankfulness is Bigger than Hardship

Honestly, I’m glad for this time. A reminder to be intentional and purposeful in my gratitude to God. A gentle push to remember that God always deserves my thankfulness, no matter my temporary, physical circumstances.

The prophet Habakkuk knew this truth and expressed it beautifully:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV

God deserves my gratitude. Even now. Especially now. The Bible clearly tells us that this temporary life on earth will be filled with death, illness, struggles, and difficulty. Our thankfulness should not and cannot depend on these circumstances. (See: “Is God Still Good When My Circumstances Aren’t?)

But God’s goodness and grace are bigger than these bits of sorrow.

In His grace, God gives me strength and peace in the midst of heartbreak. He carries me through every fire, flood, and valley (Isaiah 43:1-3). And He nudges my heart to remember His greater reality for me. My sins have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus. My eternal future is secure.

Intentional Thanksgiving for God’s Grace

Thankfulness is the right response to God and His grace in our lives. We don’t deserve anything. We don’t deserve forgiveness or salvation. Every good thing in our lives is an act of grace from our loving and merciful heavenly Father, like the sun and rain that bring the harvest. Even strength and endurance in times of difficulty are grace gifts from God. (See “3 Reasons to Thank God Even When We Don’t Feel Blessed.”)

God wants our thanksgiving and commands us to be thankful. He doesn’t need anything from us but He does expect us to respond to who He is and what He does with gratitude (Psalm 50:13-15).

What’s so amazing is that even thankfulness itself is a gift from God. Gratitude shifts our attitude and makes us more aware of God’s activity in our lives. It humbles us and allows us to see just how truly great our God is. Giving thanks to God for His mercy and kindness is a blessing and a privilege!

Will you join me this week in practicing some purposeful thanksgiving? Tell us below something you are thankful for!

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