Thanksgiving—an expression of gratitude given in many different ways—an action gushing forth from heartfelt emotion. Daily we extend or receive kindnesses, and thanksgiving seems to flow naturally. Effortlessly we thank our fellow man, but when it comes to God, sometimes it’s not so easy. And even on the day our nation has set aside to thank God for His bountiful blessings, thanksgiving becomes a strained endeavor.
Perhaps the reality of our crummy situation slaps us in the face. Maybe the ups and downs of family relationships or gyrating current events have us on a merry-go-round, and we’re not feeling very thankful. I’m right there with you. In fact, I found myself shouting, “Lord Jesus, stop the world I want to get off!”
But at that moment, God’s still small voice penetrated my soul. “Rejoice always,” He said. “Pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Quickly my pity party turned into a temper tantrum. “No,” I said to myself, stomping my foot, crossing my arms, and pursing my lips. “I don’t want to.”
“Why?” I felt His Spirit ask.
“I don’t feel like it,” I said timidly. Just then, I felt a swat to my bottom, and the correction of God pained my heart.
“Look again at the scripture. Does it say anywhere in the text do this if you feel like it?”
“No, Lord,” I replied.
“So, what does it say?”
I blew out a sigh and answered. “It says I’m to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything, not about everything, whether things seem good to me or not, whether I feel like it or not, I am to give thanks.”
“Why did I order it this way?”
“I guess because when we obey, our thoughts move from ourselves and our situation to You.”
“That’s correct,” my heart heard. “I love you. You are My precious child. I hold you in the bad times; surround you with My arms. I comfort and shield you. I alone calm your storm and lift you with My righteous right hand. I never leave you, and I am with you wherever you go.
“Believe Me and trust Me, for I never change. I will work all these things out for your good. My Spirit is your guarantee, and though trouble comes, this world is not your home.
“Finite minds cannot fully imagine the splendors of My heavenly kingdom or the glories that await you. Still, it’s not just the place. It’s Me, My presence—My holiness.
“So know this, as I was with Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness, I am with you. My Spirit dwells in you. During this storm, My Presence will guide you, envelop you with peace, and give rest to your soul.
“Remember, My purposes shall be accomplished according to all I have written, for I am God, and there is no other.”
Humbled, I said, “Thank you, Lord. Please cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I may not feel like rejoicing amidst my circumstances, but I do rejoice in You—my God, my Savior, my Lord, and my Hope. Help me to pray without ceasing, and even if I’m grumbling, help me to run to You, submit, draw near, and resist the devil because he wants me to wallow in my misery and grief.
“Safe in Your arms, will I give thanks in everything and trust you to bring good. With wide eyes and expectancy, I’ll watch You wipe away my tears, put off my sackcloth, clothe me with gladness, and turn my mourning into dancing.
Have a thankful and blessed Thanksgiving Day!
 I Thessalonians 5:16-18
 Hebrews 12:6
 John 1:12
 Psalm 32:7
 Isaiah 66:13; II Corinthians 1:3-4; Psalm 3:3
 Isaiah 41:10
 Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:9
 Malachi 3:6; Romans 8:28; II Cor. 1:21-22; Hebrews 11:9-10
 I Corinthians 2:9-10; II Corinthians 12:2-4
 Exodus 33:14; Matthew 11:28-29
 Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 45:5
 I John 1:9
 James 4:7-8
 Psalm 30:11