October 19, 2010

When Being Thankful Is Difficult

Psalm 142

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved … be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15


“Be thankful,” Paul urges us.

But let’s not go too fast. It’s a lot easier for some of us to be thankful than for others. For some of us, our lives are going smoothly. Our kids are well-adjusted; our marriages are strong; our jobs are rewarding. For us, being thankful isn’t very difficult, and our thankfulness is sincere and genuine. That’s good.

For others of us, though, it’s not quite so easy. People close to us don’t act as gifts should act. They betray our trust, take advantage of us, treat us shabbily. Our jobs have more drudgery in them than rewards, but it’s too late to change them now. Our health is slipping, and our loved ones live far away. How can we be thankful when so little around us seems worth giving thanks for?

Paul would surely understand, because he often faced things in his life that could hardly be classified as gifts: beatings, imprisonment, shipwreck, ridicule.

Yet he still says, “Be thankful.” And he himself was thankful. Why? Because he knew that his Lord, who deeply loved him, was aware of every bad event in his life, ready to help, determined sooner or later to make it all right.

Pray today for people you know whose lives are difficult. Pray that those difficulties will not extinguish their thankfulness.

Compassionate and loving Lord, may your loving presence be with ________, who faces so many challenges today. Show me how I might be able to help. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!