Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The night before school pictures our 6 year old fell and hit his forehead on the corner of a wall. He instantly had a bump literally the size of an egg. My husband prayed healing over him right then, and 10 hours later when he woke up it was gone! He then posted a before and after photo of our son on Facebook with a testimony to the power of prayer and giving thanks to God.
A non-believing friend of ours challenged us with the following:
“If prayer worked, why wouldn’t you just pray he not get hurt? Respectfully, all you are doing is attributing all good things that happen to God and ignoring times when nothing happens, or bad things happen.”
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
As Christians we can, at times, have a tendency to publicly only give thanks to the good things. I can see where it could appear that we are only giving God credit for the good.
In everything give thanks.
Does that mean that when we drop a hammer on our big toe that we should say, “Thank you God for that hammer dropping on my toe?” I doubt any of us would celebrate such an event. However, giving thanks in everything may look more like, “Thank you God that I have a foot! Thank you that I have the ability to feel pain when others may not be able to!”
Not one for public confrontations, I steer clear from controversial subjects to avoid negative situations. My first reaction when this friend questioned me was to delete the photo and avoid further conflict. Instead, I thanked God for the opportunity to further be a witness.
We are to “Sanctify the Lord God in our hearts,” which according to the Greek meaning of sanctify we are to set apart and dedicate ourselves wholly to God. I could be thankful for my friend’s pushback because I knew that by him asking me this question, I was doing something right.
When you make it known to the world that you are a Christian, people are watching. People are waiting for you to drop the hammer on your toe and curse the pain. They are not expecting you to be thankful or focus on the positive things in your life. Thankfulness amidst hard circumstances is attractive and as others watch you, they may wonder why you can react that way.
Unexpected pain during the rough patches and through pain points others to the One who sustains.
When I was 7 years old I was asked the following questions by a friend; “Why are you a Christian? How do you know God is real?”. The only answer I could reply with was, “because, I just believe”. If I could run back to that moment and share the gospel with my friend, I would. I may not be able to change my past, but I can enhance my childrens’ future. By abiding by the old adage “teach by example” we can practice showing thanks for all things in front of them. We can educate and prepare them to answer questions about their faith at any given moment. We can shape our kids to also be a light in the world that attracts the lost.
Leading by example is the most effective way to teach thankfulness. Our children can’t practice what they haven’t seen.
- One way to model this is a thankfulness journal, like Ann Voskamp talks about.
- Go around the dinner table and say one or two things that each person is thankful for throughout the day.
- Write down your thanks during November (or the whole year) on slips of paper and slip them into a jar. Go through the jar on Thanksgiving and remember all the ways God has been faithful through the year.
Janelle is a wife and stay at home mom of 4 who blogs at Queen of the House of Boys. James & Janelle own a business called Integrity Cleaning and Restoration. She is a pastor’s wife and praise and worship leader.Janelle recently retired as a retail store owner to fully embrace her calling as a mother. Bringing people together is one of Janelle‘s gifts. Whether it is managing an online support group, or organizing mentors for new families in her children’s school. Janelle loves decorating, diy projects, cooking, and hosting gatherings. She loves learning and practicing the true Biblical meaning of hospitality. Cleaning is her nemesis.