I’ve heard lots of sermons and read lots of devotionals about thanksgiving and how powerful it is to offer praise to God in the good and in the bad times. During a time of great loss in my life, I would even write lists of all that I was thankful for to help me see the good things that were still a part of my life even after the painful loss I had suffered. While this was good for me, and is good for us to do, God has been showing me a deeper level of thanksgiving that doesn’t just revolve around the blessings in our lives.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “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.”
I was led to this verse through a devotional this week and it really struck me. The author is in a desperate situation with an enemy army threatening his land. All of his resources are spent and his life is threatened, yet he chooses to rejoice in the Lord. When something is out of order or broken in my life, I can throw a real tizzy fit and refuse to be thankful until it is fixed. In fact, being thankful doesn’t usually cross my mind in these moments.
When things are going wrong in our lives, we often think that it must be fixed before we can be “okay” again. When we think about thankfulness, we often only thank God for the things that seem good to us. And if things don’t seem good to us, we won’t thank God at all.
It is pride that keeps us from offering thanksgiving to the Lord. When everything is not going the way we think it should, we sometimes blame God, and even desire to be God so that we can control our own lives. We think that we could do a better job of orchestrating our lives and the lives of others around us. While we are so convinced that this is true, I know that I have personally tried out my perfect “fix it” plan many times only to make matters worse. In other situations, we realize that we are powerless to “fix it” and are convinced that God failed us. If we were God, we would have done things differently.
The ultimate thankfulness to God comes when we can thank God that He is God and we are not. We recognize our own weaknesses and inadequacies and we thank God that He is our God. We understand that He is not to blame for our difficult circumstances, but rather that there is a real enemy, Satan, who is warring against us. We need to remember this, cast our frustrations on the enemy, and then turn to God, thankful that He is there to help.
He is our God who helps us in time of need.
He is our God who provides for us.
He is our God who delivers us.
He is our God who is always there for us.
He is the God who can make a way when there is no way.
He is the God who redeems the broken situations in our lives.
He is the God who made a way for us to overcome sin and death.
As I reflect on what I am thank for, I thank God that I am not a slave to fear or to sin. I have a Savior who has overcome the strongholds in my life and can help me to have the victory. I am thankful that I don’t need circumstances to be perfect in my life in order for me to choose to do the right thing. I am thankful that he is God and I am not.
Habakkuk 3:19 finishes the chapter by saying, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
The Lord is our strength. He is our hope and our redeemer. We can take any situation to him and ask him to help us. When we do this, he gives us divine power to overcome the adversity. It only takes our humility to admit our inadequacy declaring, “You are God, and I am not.”
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for blaming you for the brokenness in my life. Please help me to overcome the frustrations, bitterness, and sorrow that keep me from opening my mouth in praise. You are the giver of all things good and I thank you for how you have blessed my life. I am thankful that you are God and I am not.