'It can be hard to be thankful'

Built on a Rock

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

Giving thanks to God is something that Christians are supposed to do as part of our practice of our religion. It is easy to thank God for good things that happen, or for crises averted. But it is more difficult to give God thanks when things are not going well.

Today is Aug. 27, 2020. In a usual year, the State Fair would be beginning today, full of food on a stick, animals in barns, rides on the Midway, and thousands of people eating, drinking, sweating, laughing, shouting, and observing what it means to be a Minnesotan.

This is only one event on a list of things that are not happening this year. There was no county fair. Vacations or trips have been postponed and/or canceled. Summer sports looked very different (if they happened at all), and some school fall sports have been rescheduled to the spring. Parents and students are nervous about what the coming school year will be like. It seems that there is much to grumble about, and when one is grumbling, it can be hard to be thankful.

Yet, even in the midst of this topsy-turvy spring and summer, looking toward a fall filled with more of the same, there are still things for which we can give God thanks. We can be thankful for good weather. We can be thankful for the loving presence of family and friends in our lives. We can be thankful for food, clothing and shelter. And we can be thankful for the presence of God in our lives, and the gifts that God gives each day, such as sunrises, sunsets, rain, breezes and smiles.

It can be difficult to be thankful when life is going well (it is easy to forget to say thank you), or when life is difficult (it can be hard to see beyond our own situation), but it is always appropriate to thank God.

I challenge each person to come up with three things to be thankful for each day this week. As you sit down to eat, talk about it with your family. Or share a thanks time when you tuck your kids into bed, or with your spouse before you call it a night. Or share your thanks experiences in a phone call, email or text message to a friend or far-away family member.

Start seeing things to be thankful for, and then give thanks for them. And above all, be thankful for God’s steadfast love which does endure forever.


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