Over the last few months, instead of just praying for the blessings I see and recognize as blessings, I’ve also been asking God to help open my eyes to the blessings that go completely unnoticed.
The problem with our thanksgiving is that it’s typically only a response to those events in life we understand as good news.
We struggle with giving thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18) because we lack the vision, plan, and perspectives of God.
Typically, what we do is draw a line of what we think we need or deserve.
If God’s provision for us surpasses that line, then we are thankful. If his provision falls short, we worry, question, and blame.
Thus, the danger is that God’s performance as God relates to our ability to evaluate how successfully he’s being God based on one criteria – our selfish and limited vision of what God is doing.
It’s selfish to decide if God is worthy of praise based on my limited vision, experience, sight, and relationship with the world. He’s worthy of praise and thanksgiving even when I can’t figure out what he’s doing.
I guess we can only learn to give thanks in all circumstances when we view everything from a God-centered perspective.
One of my favorite stories that highlights this is told by Corrie Ten Boom.
While Corrie was in the Ravensbruck concentration camp with her sister, Betsie, they read 2 Thess. 5:16-18. Here’s her account:
“That’s it, Corrie! That’s the answer. We can give thanks in all circumstances! That’s what we can do. We can start right now and thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”
I stared her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
“Such as?” I said.
“Such as being assigned here together.”
I bit my lip. “Oh yes, Lord Jesus.”
“Such as what you’re holding in your hands.” … “thank you for the very crowding here. Since were packed so close, that many more will hear!” [She prodded Corrie to think of some things to be thankful for …] Betsie went on serenely, for the fleas and for – The fleas! This was too much. Betsie, there is no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.
Eventually, Corrie does thank God for fleas and even later it turns out that none of the guards or supervisors would come into their bunk because of the amount of fleas.
The fleas were a blessing. An invisible blessing. They thanked God for something even before they could see how it was a blessing.
Several years later during a Billy Graham Crusades Interview, Corrie was asked, “What kept you going?” She responded by saying, “Not what, but who. It was good that I have experienced that. I had always believed, but now I know from experience that Jesus’ light was stronger than the deepest darkness.”
God is worthy of thanksgiving even when we can’t understand what he’s doing.
God, teach us to be thankful for things we know and understand to be good news. Teach us to be thankful for things that we perceive to be bad news – perhaps even things that are bad news for us. But, Father, if they be good news for your Name and for your Kingdom, teach us to be thankful in all circumstances.