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Why Choosing Gratitude Is More Important This Year than Ever

By Barbara Rainey

First Posted on

Everything feels foreign and different this year. The long ordeal we face continues to impact every area of life, it seems. This would be bad enough, but with the looming chaos, the future seems even more unsure. Still one of my favorite verses is true, He shall be the stability of your times,” Isaiah 33:6. 

Just reading the words makes me exhale … breathe … God knows.

Lest we forget, He’s reminding us, we aren’t in heaven yet. For we who know Christ this earth is not our home. Life without sin is the home we wish for and it’s called Heaven. This messy year of 2020 reminds us that this earth is a broken, messed up place. 

And the now-upon-us holiday season will feel very different too. For many of us, celebrating will feel wrong because loved ones are gone. Again God reminds me, all of us, to be thankful in all things because He is with us. His message is the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A dear friend of ours, Ney Bailey, wrote a book years ago, Faith Is Not a Feeling, to help readers like me understand that faith can be strong even when feelings are a mess. These five words, “faith is not a feeling,” have been a guide to me often in life when I didn’t want to give thanks, forgive, or show grace because I didn’t feel like it.

Giving thanks is a command. It’s not optional. And perhaps this year, more than ever, it’s important for us to show our faith by giving thanks … even when we don’t feel like it.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When I choose to obey this verse, I’m choosing to remember God.

I don’t have to feel grateful to give thanks. In fact, giving thanks without feelings of joy and happiness pleases God more.

Giving thanks reminds me that: 

1. God is in control. We are not. Thanking Him is an acknowledgement of His authority. It also realigns my thinking and my faith with what is true. 

2. God loves me and is working for my good. He has a plan and a purpose in my present circumstances every day of my life. He promises me that He is working all things together for my good (Romans 8:28). Even when I don’t feel like He is. 

3. God’s ways are not my ways. What He is working for good isn’t always visible nor is it in my timing. God never works as fast as I’d like. The changes I desire might not even happen at all. 

4. God cares more about my heart than my circumstances. Answered prayer is not His goal. It’s all about my heart and yours. Believing in Him by faith is what He desires. As 1 Samuel 16:7 says, For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”