by Linda Rooks @Linda_Rooks
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 NASB
As we approach Thanksgiving, many of us excitedly anticipate the day, rejoicing in thoughts of reuniting with family, feasting on turkey, and remembering the blessings of the past year. But others may feel empty; their problems seem to envelop them and their circumstances look bleak. With the holiday approaching, they may wonder if they have anything for which to be thankful.
I remember such a time, when my marriage was on the point of collapse. My husband and I were separated. Confusion and fear gripped my heart, and I had no idea what the future held. It was hard to be thankful that year.
During this difficult time, however, I discovered an amazing irony. While I struggled with painful circumstances, I found that when I raised my eyes toward heaven and simply thanked God for being my Lord and Father, my heart grew lighter, and I felt at peace.
As I praised Him, the clutter of doubt and fear cleared from my mind, and my perspective changed. God appeared larger, and I became more aware of His awesome power and majesty. As a result, my painful circumstances seemed less weighty and prominent. I saw only God, only His love, only His comforting presence. Thanking and praising God was a salve to my aching heart. In the midst of praise I knew I would be alright.
The irony I discovered is that thanking God—even when it seemed I had nothing to be thankful for—actually gave me something for which to be thankful.
Psalm 100:4 tells us to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and praise His name” (NIV).
It is when we are thankful–when we praise His name—that we can enter into the very presence of God. And when we do, we find that His majesty and power is greater than any problem we encounter. In the light of His almighty presence and power, the darkness in our lives pales. God’s glory washes away the dross of the world around us.
Psalm 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (KJV).
If you are struggling to feel thankful, when you wake up on Thanksgiving Day, begin by praising God. Thank Him for His love, which never ceases. Thank Him for being a big God that nothing can defeat. Thank Him that you have the incredible privilege of coming before the God of the universe and offering up your heart. When you do, He will pour His strength into your weakness. He will fill your heart with Himself and the forever love He has for you. And with the tenderness of God’s presence so near, you might find this to be the most meaningful Thanksgiving of all.
About the author: Having traveled a difficult three-year journey from separation to reconciliation in her own marriage, Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation, brings strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Her new book, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, takes the next step by offering practical guidance for those who desire reconciliation. It releases in February 2019. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida where their ministry to marriages in crisis has helped many couples reconcile their relationships.
Join the conversation: Our God never changes, no matter what our circumstances might at times tempt us to believe. What things about God can you praise Him today?