When Giving Thanks is a Struggle
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High, to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night…” (Psalm 92:1-2)
With only a few days until Thanksgiving, I admit my “giving thanks” meter is running low. Lately I have struggled with bouts of anxiety, fear of the future, lack of patience with myself and others, and even complaining. I sometimes feel like I want to get 2020 over with and move on to a new year already! Maybe you can relate (I hope I am not the only one!).
The other day I stumbled across a Thanksgiving “Holiday guest book” that I had forgotten about. When I bought it several years ago, I hoped to start a tradition of having family members write in it every Thanksgiving.
I opened the book and found only one entry – from Thanksgiving of 2016. So much for my good intentions of starting a tradition!
But that one entry – a quote from my Dad - was enough to stop me in my tracks.
November of 2016 was the last time my dad was well enough to leave the nursing home to celebrate Thanksgiving at our home in Illinois. He had dementia, and although he was confused as to where he was and even at times who we were, he did answer my question:
“What is the best advice you can give to us (the family)?”
“I can’t think of anything better than having a good relationship with Christ.”
Wow. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered my dad’s last year of life, and the pain and suffering he endured mentally and physically.Yet his message was this: nothing better than a relationship with Christ.
I believe if my dad were alive today, having endured the pandemic and turmoil of 2020, his advice would be the same. No matter what we have gone through this year, or will yet go through, a loving relationship with Jesus Christ is enough. In the presence of Jesus, the trials and tribulations of this world start to lose their grip on us.
King David expressed this so well in the beginning of Psalm 23,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (vs. 1)
The image is of a sheep who is utterly content and satisfied with his shepherd. He trusts his shepherd and knows he will be cared for. It is enough for the sheep.
If we have this relationship with Christ, we too can sing like the psalmist in Psalm 92. We can give thanks to the Lord in any season, during trials or times of blessing.
Maybe you are like me and have sensed a lack of thanksgiving in your life lately. My hope and prayer through the close of 2020, as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, is that we choose to focus on our relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. His steadfast love in the morning and His faithfulness by night is truly something to thank Him for!
Dear Jesus, forgive me for my lack of thankfulness. I know this is a symptom of my discontent with my relationship with You. Help me, by the Holy Spirit, to seek You every day, and to overflow with love and thankfulness to You and those around me. Amen!