She was destitute. She was hurting. She was alone. Yet I was encouraged and inspired to listen to her speak. You would think she didn’t have a care in the world. But I knew differently. This person had every reason to be depressed, discouraged and overwhelmed by the myriad of trials that had flooded her life. But quite to the contrary, she was peaceful, hopeful, positive and THANKFUL! I knew immediately this wasn’t HER, it was Jesus...in her! Here’s a mystery... a blessed, glorious mystery which is hidden deep within these inspired words; “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord...” (Psalm 92:1) It’s a mystery that becomes nothing short of miraculous when this principle is activated.
Various doctors have shared this information. An interesting study was conducted to discover what pattern of thinking or mindset was the very best for the human body. When the people involved in this study expressed “thankfulness,” more endorphins and other health- building substances were released in their bodies than when they practiced other patterns of thinking. It really is a “good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”
Jesus demonstrated the power of thanksgiving in the eleventh chapter of John. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come to their hometown because their brother Lazarus was very ill. But Jesus was delayed for a few days. Before He was able to arrive, Lazarus died. Lazarus had been dead four days when Jesus finally came, but still Jesus said: “Take away the stone,” which was in front of Lazarus’ tomb. Then Jesus said this prayer: “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me...” (John 11:41) Notice here that before Lazarus had even moved a muscle, and before any miracle had been seen by anyone, Jesus thanked the Father that He had heard Him. In essence, He thanked God for the answer even before He saw it. And the answer came shortly thereafter when Lazarus walked out of the tomb!
This principle is again emphasized in chapter 20 of 2 Chronicles. Jehoshaphat and his people were going to battle, yet the chariots didn’t go first. And no, the horsemen didn’t lead the way...and even the men with the swords and the shields weren’t at the front of the line. Rather, it was the singers who were singing songs of thanks and praise to God for the victory...a victory that hadn’t happened yet! But the victory came!
I believe that exercising thanksgiving, before the evidence of answered prayer is seen, creates a channel of faith which allows God to pour His dynamic answers into our lives. I’ve seen it in my own life again and again! And I believe that counting our blessings lifts the spirits and just makes you feel good... endorphins or no endorphins! And guess what! It’s contagious! People can’t help but contribute to the list when you “count your blessings, name them one by one.” Let’s face it, folks, “It’s a GREAT thing to give thanks unto the Lord!”
Yes, she was destitute. She was hurting and alone. But I believe she tapped into the Source of her strength through exercising the power of thankfulness. She focused on the blessings rather than the problems. She focused on what she had, rather than what she didn’t have. She looked beyond her present calamities to the answers to her prayers, which were just around the corner.
There are so many pieces to the puzzles of our lives. Too often the evil one tempts God’s people to focus on the pieces that are twisted and torn, while there are beautiful pieces...wonderful pieces that are a grand display of God’s blessings in our lives that remain on the back burner. Yet for every temptation, God provides to you and me a way of escape.
Nope! A quick prayer that goes something like, “Thank you, God, for life, health and strength, Amen,” is not what we’re talking about here. Okay, here’s the nuts and bolts of it! If you’re going to thank, you have to think! The word “thankfulness” actually comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word which means “thinkfulness.” Genuine thankfulness can only happen as a result of careful and deliberate thinking! Yes, we’re talking “meditation!” And meditation takes time! I like to think and write, and thank and write, and then think and thank and write some more! It’s awesome to look back and see what you write during times of deep prayer and meditation. The printed page will keep the evidence of God’s precious blessings long after our feeble minds forget. But no matter how you choose to do it, your “thinkfulness” will always lead to an abundant time of thankfulness!! “It is a GREAT thing to give thanks unto the Lord!”
“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” (Psalm 111:2)