“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks. ” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It goes without saying that Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. Many families, mine included, go around the table during the Thanksgiving meal answering this question, “What are you thankful for?” (It is always good to go early as most of the obvious blessings are already mentioned by the time the last few people are up.)
While we all know that we are supposed to be thankful at Thanksgiving, what do you do if you are struggling with it? What do you do if the bottom has dropped out of your life and you are having a hard time giving thanks?
God knows and understands when we are hurting. He knows giving thanks can sometimes be really difficult … but it is always right! God says, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me” (Psalm 50:23). When it is a struggle to give thanks because the circumstances are bad, know this: your sacrifice of thanksgiving is extra special to God. Giving thanks in the tough times in life shows God that you love and trust Him, no matter what!
Last week I was blessed to be able to take a tour of Moncrief—the University of Texas’ Football Facility (an amazing place). While there, I saw Longhorn running back Fozzy Whittaker, an outstanding young man who walks with God. Fozzy was having a stellar senior year, and he got to start last week against Missouri. In one tragic play in the first quarter, Fozzy cut left, and his right knee blew out. He tore his MCL and ACL. His final season as a college player came to a crashing halt. It was heartbreaking.
How did Fozzy handle all the adversity? He gave thanks and chose to trust God. He talked to Coach Mack Brown a day after the injury and encouraged his coach to keep his head up. Coach Brown was blown away and said, “Fozzy’s a guy that takes negatives and turns them into positives, and he said there’s a reason everything happens, Coach, and we’ll make this work, too, and move forward, too. He is just a special young man and one that has given Texas a lot more than we’ve given him because he is a giver, not a taker.”
Fozzy is offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving. He is honoring God … and God is going to honor Him, just like He promises in 1 Samuel 2:30, “For those who honor Me I will honor.”
Let me encourage you as I encourage myself: follow the example of Fozzy Whittaker. Regardless of what you are facing, choose to give thanks and trust God … and watch to see what God will do in response to your faith.
by Pastor Jeff Schreve