I’m often asked how one can be thankful at this time of year when struggling with pain, heartache, and disappointment.
If that is your situation, too, my answer is in a Thanksgiving prayer I wrote a few years ago that continues to be said each year by thousands across the U.S. and overseas. It’s a prayer that reminds us of who God is and what He might be doing in circumstances we don’t understand.
If you, too, are discouraged this time of year, see if this prayer doesn’t lift your heart and your eyes to the One who still loves you:
Thank you, God, for Your many blessings this past year — the ones we’ve seen, as well as the ones we haven’t seen (Romans 8:28).
Thank you, God for the times You have said “no.” They have helped us depend on You so much more (Jeremiah 29:11).
Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds us that You know what’s best for us, even when our opinion differs (Matthew 7:11).
Thank You for the things you have withheld. You have protected us from what we may never realize.
Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented us from going where You would rather not have us go.
Thank you for the physical pain You’ve allowed. It has helped us more closely relate to Your sufferings on our behalf (Philippians 3:10). .
Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in our lives. Those times have forced us to lean in closer to You (Hebrews 13:5).
Thank you, God, for the uncertainties we’ve experienced. They have deepened our trust in You (Isaiah 43:2).
Thank You, Lord, for the losses we have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are our greatest gain (Philippians 3:8).
Thank You, God, for the tears we have shed (Psalm 56:8). They have kept our hearts soft and moldable.
Thank You, God, for the situations we haven’t been able to control. They have reminded us that You are sovereign and on the throne (Job 42:1) .
Thank You, God, for Your ability to take what we consider ‘tragedy’ and turn it into a treasure (Psalm 71:20-21).
Thank You, God, for those You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on heaven (Psalm 116:15).
Thank You, God, that we have an inheritance in the heavenly places…something that this world can never steal from us and we could never selfishly squander (John 14:2-3).
Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give us: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Thank you, God, for the righteousness You credited toward us, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness we could never attain to on our own.
And thank You not only for our eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford us every day of our lives as You save us from ourselves, our foolishness, our own limited insights, and our frailties in light of Your power and strength (Psalm 71:15).
Thank You, God, for all that You have allowed and not allowed in our lives this past year. For we commit our lives anew to You this day and ask that You would continue to remind us, throughout this next year, that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friend. We DO have so very much to be grateful for.