Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When You Don’t Feel Thankful

There are often times in life where we just don’t feel thankful. It’s rather awful to admit because as Christians especially God has given us SO much – everything actually and much more than we deserve! But it’s also true that life is hard and often filled with trials, disappointments and struggles, and in dark moments it can be hard to see much of anything to be thankful for. I have been so burdened that I couldn’t sing “Count Your Many Blessings”, I have struggled to hold back the tears because while I knew that I did have many blessings, and especially in Christ, it didn’t feel like it. If I can be honest with you, being thankful sometimes hurts. It often means surrendering up yourself, giving up your desires for what you might have wanted or wished for and choosing to be thankful for what God has given you or in some cases, choosing to be thankful for what He has not given you. Having contentment in what God has given or not given is not easy and it’s in those dark times that the struggle to trust in God’s goodness is really real.

But while life is sometimes a struggle, there is hope; there is a foundation that we can stand on. While I sometimes falter, in that I don’t respond the way I ought to right away, in the end my faith is not in my circumstances, it’s in a God who never changes; a God who is faithful and sovereign over all – even those things that I don’t understand. Even when I struggle to be thankful, my heart still remembers God’s love and goodness, and the greatest blessing of all: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You want to be encouraged, meditate on Christ’s love for you – His perfect, sanctifying, satisfying love that will never let you go. Psalm 46:1-2 says, “The LORD is our refuge, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…”

Earlier I mentioned the hymn “Count Your Blessings”. There is something about actually taking time to count your blessings, to specifically list them off that helps put things in perspective. So if you’re struggling to be thankful this week, start a list. I started a notebook awhile back that I titled “10,000 Reasons” (yes, after the song) where I write down little blessings as they come my way. Even if it’s a small thing like the sun shining, a pumpkin latte, coffee/tea with a friend, or someone's little encouragement – look for God’s little blessings. While it can be hard to count your blessings in times of trial, I’ll leave you with the words* to this hymn to encourage you to do just that!

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


*Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922) 

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