An excerpt from "Strength for Tough Times"
By Maria M. Kneas
"Be thankful to Him, and
bless His name.
We need to develop the habit of being grateful for who God is and what He has already done for us. It is easy to take things for granted. For example, you are reading this essay. Have you thanked God for the fact that you are able to see, and you know how to read?
If we look for things to thank God for, we will find more and more reasons to be grateful. And if we look for things to complain about, we will find more and more reasons to complain.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt and went to the Promised Land, they kept complaining. They got bored with eating manna every day, and wanted to eat something more flavorful (with garlic and leeks). So they complained about the miraculous food that God provided. They complained when they had no water. God miraculously supplied water for them, but we have no record that they were grateful for it.
And what was the end of the matter? That generation died in the wilderness because they refused to enter the Promised Land when God told them to. They didn’t trust God to deal with the giants there.
This is an example of how lack of gratitude can result in lack of trusting God. And that can lead to a lack of obedience (i.e., rebellion against God).
Compare this with the attitude of King Jehoshaphat. When he and his people were threatened by a huge army, Jehoshaphat prayed,
“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12, emphasis added)
And God came through for them. He miraculously delivered them from their enemies.
We can choose to develop the habit of thanking God. We can look for things to thank Him for. We can thank God and praise Him even when we don’t feel like it.
We can deliberately choose to be grateful, and we can ask God to give us a grateful heart. The Apostle Paul exhorted us to have that kind of attitude when he said,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, emphasis added)
Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were sent to a Nazi concentration camp because her family hid Jews during World War II. Betsy died in that camp, but Corrie was released.1 After the war, she traveled the world, telling people about God’s love. Corrie knew first-hand how difficult life can be. But she said,
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”2
Note: To order or read the book online, go to http://www.strengthfortoughtimes.com/
Endnotes: 1. Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place tells about how they hid Jews, were sent to a concentration camp, and led a Bible study and prayer meeting there. Some of the prisoners in that camp became Christians through their ministry.
2. Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), p. 27.
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