By Courtney Phillips
Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good
In my home hangs lettering that spells “thankful” right as you are walking from the living room to the kitchen. This means,I have to walk right underneath that word before I walk out the door.
Most of the time, I find signs like this decoratively annoyingly optimistic (if that even makes sense), because it makes it seem like it should be an easy thought to switch over from anxiety and worry straight over to thankfulness. To be honest, to change my mindset as quickly as I read that word is not a possibility. I usually have to think hard to remember what it is that I should be grateful for. As negative as that seems, in the midst of everyday trials, if I don’t begin my days with prayer and His word it is an easily forgotten commandment in the midst of endless demands. His word commands this bending of our hearts regardless of where we are that day, and thankfully there is grace in Jesus when it is difficult to be thankful. Scripture does NOT read, “Give thanks to the Lord, but if you’re having an exceptionally rough day, God will cut you some slack; He reserves this commandment for when life is going your way.” Instead, it compels us to give thanks to the Lord, and graciously explains why:
FOR HE IS GOOD
Yes, He most certainly is good, and by being in the word, and by taking a moment to remember He is the foundation and that the cross makes redemption mine, our minds will be transformed to recall His goodness when it can be easily forgotten. I’m so grateful for the reminder right after the commandment. The word ‘thankful’ by itself leaves no explanation for why. In a world with many troubles and persecutions, it can be difficult to believe in His goodness. We are grateful and we endure in our gratefulness, because of the promised future joy. There is a Godly frustration from living in a world with constant sin. It is frustrating to know that our deepest desires for Jesus to be glorified in all of the world, in all of our inadequacies, in all of our hurt will not be fulfilled until Jesus comes back as King. By knowing this, if we continue to live in a constant state of frustration, bitterness will grow, and our memories will turn to rust regarding the truths of our Savior. He is King. He is good. He is sovereign, and He is here with us whether we decide to be grateful and thankful or not. It is His divine will for us to be thankful for who HE is.
“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” –C.S. Lewis
Be thankful for who He is. God has done many things that call us to be grateful, and Psalm 136 calls out the specific reason He is demanding this gratitude. We are to be grateful to God because of who He is, for what He did on the cross, for His word, and for who He continues to be.