By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
Thanking God When We Don’t Feel Like It
By Lynette Kittle
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
What happens when we don’t feel like giving thanks, especially during times of rising fuel prices, increasing mortgage rates, food shortages, job losses, and more? Amid unstable times, God asks us to focus on Him and His faithfulness, instead of our circumstances. He draws us to dwell on His promise to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and to trust Him to help us in every situation we face in life.
Some say if they aren’t really feeling thanks, then it’s fake and insincere to practice thankfulness. But thankfulness is not a feeling or based on what’s going on in our lives but rather it’s an offering to God.
God Calls Us to Be Thankful
God understands it can be difficult for us to give thanks during trying times but He wants us to be willing to be thankful even when we don’t feel like it.
Psalm 100:4, expresses God’s call to us to be thankful. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
His will is for us to approach Him with thankfulness. Yet many of us misunderstand God’s directive to give thanks in all circumstances, believing we’re supposed be thankful “for” everything when the truth is, God is asking us to be thankful “in” everything. Still some of us struggle with this concept, resisting thankfulness, thinking God is telling us to be thankful “for” the challenges. But we’re missing what He is really leading us to do, which is to be thankful despite the difficulties, to not let lack, losses, disappointments, and hurts keep us from expressing our gratefulness to Him.
Throughout Scripture God emphasizes the importance of thankfulness, understanding that even if it’s sacrificial on our part, He is honored and glorified through it. Psalm 50:23, describes its benefits. “Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor Me, and to the blameless I will show My salvation.”
As well, Psalm 116:17, encourages sacrificial thankfulness. “I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the Lord.”
Still with our human weaknesses and frailties, it may feel like God is asking too much of us, especially during times of huge disappointments, unbearable heartaches, and tremendous losses. It can seem beyond our capabilities to offer Him thanks amidst such deep devastations.
Practicing Sacrificial Thankfulness
If it’s God’s will for us to give thanks “in” everything, how do we begin? Prayer is the place to start. Colossians 4:2 urges us to keep alert in our prayers with an attitude of thankfulness, which involves recognizing where ungratefulness can creep into our thoughts, words, and even our prayers.
At times when we think there is absolutely nothing, we can find to be grateful for in our lives, we can be thankful for Jesus Christ and the Salvation we receive through Him. Even when life seems empty, we can give thanks to God for His peace, presence, faithfulness, and comfort. As Colossians 3:17 urges, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
In experiencing everyday disappointments, job losses, natural disasters, financial stresses, and more, thankfulness helps us to cultivate a trust in God. Like Isaiah 12:2 assures, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense. He has become my salvation.” Even in situations that seem hopeless, like there couldn’t possibly be any good ever come from them, God promises to work them together for our good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Intersecting Faith and Life:
If you’re finding thankfulness difficult to express, try beginning each day by finding one reason to be thankful to God, then throughout the day, take time to offer thanks to Him.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Pro Church Media
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.