He Gave Thanks

The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 1 Cor. 11:23

Amazing! Jesus, knowing that He was betrayed, knowing that the bread represented His broken body, knowing what He was to suffer, gave thanks. So agonizing that He would later pray that His "cup" be taken from Him (Mt. 26:39), He still gave thanks to the Father.

And He set an example for us to follow (John 13:15).

Oh, but He was Jesus, God incarnate. We're not. Surely, we can't do what He can do... Can we?

Can we give thanks in the midst of suffering? Can we give thanks when there seems to be no hope?

James tells us to consider it joy whenever we face trials, not because of the trial itself, but because of what the trial produces: perseverance, maturity, completeness. (James 1:2-4) The New Living Translation puts it this way: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

We are not asked to give thanks FOR the trial, but for the opportunity it presents to us. We are asked to give thanks in spite of the trial, to look past it and see that God is working in it and through it for our benefit.

Thanksgiving is a decision. It's a choice that the Pilgrims made, and a choice that we must make. I was taught in school that the Pilgrims were thankful to the Indians. That's false. The truth is that the Pilgrims were thankful to God. Not because of their hardships, but in spite of them. It is unlikely that any of us will ever face the hardships the Pilgrims faced. We have different ones in our generation, to be sure, but the fact that they were thankful to God despite their hardships provides hope that we can be too.

And He empowers us to do what He asks us to do.

You, however, are controlled ... by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. ... The Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:9, 26)

And not only does He give us His power, He provides benefits and blessings besides!

My friend shared a recent disappointment with me. During our discussion, she made a statement I will long remember:
"A grateful heart is rarely discontent."

Lord, help us to be grateful, to see the purpose in difficulties and disappointments, to allow You to work to bring us to maturity.


quietspirit said...

You're right. Thanksgiving is a decision. We can decide to be thankful. We can also decide to gripe and groan.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Maria said...

Thanks, very well written.Have a nice Thanksgiving and my best to you and your family.

Faith Imagined said...

Very inspiring words! I especially love this line, "We are not asked to give thanks FOR the trial, but for the opportunity it presents to us." It is encouraging to know that God uses trials to mold us and the pain is not senseless.

Michele Katherine said...

Hi Susan,
Outstanding post, what a blessing. I want to wish you and your family the best Thanksgiving day.

Michele Katherine