A day for giving thanks

Published 9:33 pm Monday, November 25, 2019

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

In Ephesians 5, Paul reminds us to speak to ourselves “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.” He then adds, “In everything give thanks…”

Thursday is the day for that kind of celebration, but will it be a day of thankfulness? Take a quick trip through the litany of things with which you have been blessed. Reflect on what you can put in the sweetness of your Thanksgiving offering of prayer to God. It won’t cost you any money, just a grateful heart.

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For what should we be thankful? Food, clothing, shelter, friendships, family, love, a job, funds or help to meet our needs, health, freedom, our country, good neighbors…the list goes on. And we forget, thinking we made all this for ourselves.

We could take a lesson from King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30. He was walking in his magnificent palace, taking credit for all the great things he had built in Babylon. His boastful words were not out of his mouth when judgment fell on him. Let’s not think like he did, that God had nothing to do with our lives. We are influenced by situations out of our control. What if all our treasures were taken away?

Life has always had ups and downs, uncertainties, a sudden loss, a health issue, a difficult situation without a resolution. Paul told Timothy to be “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” in Ephesians 6:10. I will be 92 in three months. I am thankful for so many good things with enough difficulties to keep me centered on the presence of the Lord at my side, guiding me along the rugged paths. Just now I am relying on those promises for enough eyesight to let me finish my race with thanksgiving.

I would have been in despair without faith in the God Who loves me.

I try to remember what Paul said, “in everything give thanks…” John says if we know that He hears us, we know that we have the petitions we desired of Him (I John 5:15) but those prayers must be aligned with His will for us, not just a selfish desire.

It does not take a psychic to understand our whole world is in turmoil — internal problems in Hong Kong, Spain, Israel, our own country. Oil-rich Venezuela was experiencing prosperity when a change in government caused a loss and today, many families have to manage on as little as $2.40 a day.

Bolivia is one of the latest to experience shock waves. A friend writes that on Nov. 13, sudden political changes came to Bolivia. President Evo Morales stepped down. The situation degraded to such an extent the leadership team chose to remove four families to safer places. Many are caught with limited food supplies and gas needed to cook. An interim president took office and with the support of the Bolivian army and the national police, law and order are progressively returning around the country, but not without a cost. Christians are banding together, praying for their neighbors, trying to help each other.

Our own country, more blessed than any other, is being torn apart. Will God take away the blessings He has given us? It could happen overnight, just like it has in those other countries. Our attitude this Thanksgiving should be of gratitude, offered in prayer, a humility unexcelled with thanks to God for our blessings. Will we do that?

Myrtle Virginia Thompson, 91, is a retired missionary, educator and writer. Contact her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.