What Suffering and Death Teaches Me About Thanksgiving 

PC Alisha Mullett
So yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. You know, the day family, friends and communities gather together, share with each other, and express the gratitude of their hearts. But thanksgiving is more than a day we celebrate. Much more. It’s even greater than the act of giving thanks. You see, we can learn more about God when we practice the art of giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is a command. God never suggests for us to be thankful, He commands us! Giving thanks is something we should be striving for and take seriously.

I don’t know about you, but I find that nothing about living the Christian life is very easy. It doesn’t come naturally. It takes effort to stay in God’s word, follow His ways, and become molded into His image. I need to consistently make a conscious effort at being grateful. But when I do, I find that I have greater joy and peace.

Because of this, I practice giving thanks. Daily. For the past number of years I’ve kept a “thanksgiving journal.” This is where I write down all the ways I see that God is blessing me. His many gifts to me. The big ones as well as the small. This little act of giving thanks helps me to recognize all that God has blessed me with. Someone said, Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

We can still have a thankful heart even when we don’t feel thankful for our circumstances. We can be grieving, yet still be grateful. We can be sad and hurting while still giving thanks. A thankful heart lifts you above your difficult circumstances. 

PC Alisha Mullett

Thankfulness keeps our hearts in a right relationship with the Giver of all good gifts. When we are more aware of God’s gifts, it helps us realize our dependence on Him. We all know proud and haughty individuals who live as if they don’t need God or anyone else. Only those who recognize they’re neediness can truly be grateful.

Each of us are prone to covetousness. We want what everyone else has, and we expect it to bring us happiness. But this mentality is incredibly elusive. It’s not as much WHAT we have that makes us thankful, but it’s the EXTENT to which we simply enjoy what we already have. When we’re thankful, we realize we have more than enough. But when we’re ungrateful, we’ll always be unsatisfied and never have enough. Our struggles often end when thankfulness begins.

Suffering and death can also help teach us the importance of giving thanks. This may sound a bit like an oxymoron. But it’s true. Why would we ever give thanks to God when we face pain and loss? After all, suffering and death was never part of God’s original plan for mankind. It was a direct consequence of sin.

Death may seem like a harsh punishment for when sin entered humanity. But in reality, physical death is again the gift of a merciful and loving God. And we should thank Him. Let me explain…

Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was the first time they were introduced to or experienced evil of any kind. They were now living in a fallen, sin-filled state. God could have destroyed them immediately. But instead He banned them from the Garden of Eden. He not only banned them from Eden, but He also placed an angel to guard it so no one else will ever be able to enter the Garden. God wanted to make sure Adam and Eve (or anyone else) would never get close to the Tree of Life. Why? Because God didn’t want Adam and Eve to live forever in their wretched, fallen state. God wanted to give mankind another chance.

Physical death gives each of us the opportunity to cast aside our sin-stained body for a holy, heavenly one. God is, again, giving us another chance to be redeemed and to dwell in His presence. When we face suffering, pain or loss, we should see beyond it; find God’s mercy and give thanks. 

PC Alisha Mullett

Giving thanks should be our response to suffering and death rather than becoming angry at God’s “injustice.” Remember when God says “no” to a specific request, He may be protecting you from something less than His best.

May each of us sincerely give thanks during this Thanksgiving season. In all things. And when our eyes are blinded because of difficult trials, may He give us spiritual eyes to see above and beyond. Hardly anything gives more power than a grateful heart. It’s time for a turbo charge!

~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)

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