I find that whenever life is difficult or God seems far; or if I feel far away from Him, one very useful thing I can do to change my circumstances is to stop for a moment and THANK GOD. The Bible says that “in everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Everything, meaning the good and the bad.
Whenever we thank the Lord, something happens to our focus. Suddenly, it’s not all about the problem anymore, or our depression, or our dark past. Our perspective shifts from us and our negativity to God and to His goodness. What He has done, what He can do, who He is, how powerful He is—this becomes our new focus when we start to thank Him.
If we mull it over, there really is much to thank God for. We’re alive—that’s one thing. Earth hasn’t been annihilated and it still swings on its axis—that’s another. We can make a specific list of things to thank God for; things like being capable of waking up in the morning, or for having food on our table; things like the new job or the old job, the salary raise, or our healing from sickness. We can look back and remember the many times God came through for us in the past.
If our minds swing back to the negative, depressive things while thanking God, we don’t have to beat ourselves up over it. We simply give these things to God. We can thank Him that our problems give Him room to work in our lives. We can thank Him that He has the last say for every problem we have. We can thank Him that He makes all things new (Isaiah 43:19); and that joy and peace come from Him (Romans15:13). I love that the Psalmist would talk to himself and say, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 43:5). We can do the same.
There is so much to thank God for. Let’s make it a practice to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in our lives.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.