A Tool of “Thanksgiving” #5

Stormy sky

Stormy sky (Photo credit: greenwoman46)

Previously, I wrote about the rest that can come from a heart that is protected by God while going through trials. In this post, I’m going to take a second look at the verse found in Philippians 4:6-7 NASB “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In that verse, it makes no bones about it, we are NOT to be anxious for ANYTHING. Not for our finances, not for an eviction notice, not for a job loss, not for and ill child … we are “NOT to be anxious for ANYTHING.” From my own life’s experiences, I don’t think the author, the Apostle Paul, assumed this would be easy, or even come natural. He wasn’t saying to ignore, or deny, these tragedies but rather that we pray about them and thank God despite the tragedies, and “in EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS”.

Why … Why in the world would Paul command such unnatural, or super-natural, things?! A thankful mindset is powerful in and of itself, but when conjoined with prayer, it does a million time more powerful. Prayerful thanksgiving is the fix-all, cure-all, antidote for worry, despair, fear, and anxiety. As I think I’ve said previously, being thankful is a posture of humility and it is an acknowledgement that you couldn’t do it on your own. In all honesty, I can’t make it on my own … I couldn’t even get up and walk out of this room without the aid of God filling my lungs with air, giving my muscles and nerves the ability to carry my torso upright across the floor, my equilibrium, my brain functions, etc. The things we take for granted are endless and they are the exact things we could acknowledge with a thankful heart. Like I said above, being thankful doesn’t come easy, especially in the midst of trials … it isn’t easy, it isn’t natural … it’s supernatural. SUPER-natural consequences follow our SUPER-natural response. This reminds me of a story I heard once. Two men for talking and Bob asked Joe how he liked his recent heart attack. Kind of befuddled, Joe said “what do you mean, how’d I like it?! It was the closest to death I’ve ever been; it hurt, I was in the hospital for days, they had to cut my chest wide open … I don’t think I liked it one bit!” “No, I understand, I do.” Bob said. Tell me, how’s your relationship with your wife been lately?”  “Pretty good,” Joe replied, “in fact, I can’t remember spending as much time together since our oldest was born.” “Speaking of children, how are they doing; and how’s your relationship with them?” Bob queried. Joe quickly responded, “Oh, all three are doing great, and they all flew in or came to visit! It was so nice to see everyone together again and to see the grandkids.”  “That sounds like a nice visit for sure,” Bob said. He then asked, “Joe, how’s things with God?” “You know Bob,” Joe answered, “I can’t remember the last time I prayed and I knew God heard me. I mean, yeah, I know He hears me, but lately, there has been something different … we just seem closer lately.” “So, tell me,” Bob asked one final question, “How’d you like that heart attack?” And with a humbled heart, Joe realized that he had missed so many things to be thankful for during the storm.

In the next “Tool of Thanksgiving” post, I’ll write about how we can supersede our natural state become more than conquerors in our trials. It isn’t an easy thing, being thankful in the trial, it isn’t natural, but the opposite (worry, fear, despair, anxiety, stress, etc.) isn’t good either. Tell me, what kind of trials have you been going through that maybe you just can’t see anything to be thankful for?

Until later . . .

Jonathan Watson

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