“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue…Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” – Psalm 66:16-17, 20
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” – I Peter 1:3-4
In a fallen world, we tend to have a short memory for all that God has done, and even more often, we have a short-sighted faith for what He can do. Sometimes, we’re so focused on one particular need, that we miss the great, big beautiful picture of all that our Heavenly Father has done for us. And in my experience, I’ve found that when I manage to zoom out and take in the full scope of all of His blessings, I have a much easier time believing that He’s already handled the one particular need that I’m so worried about.
Thanksgiving is a precious time to step back and see the hand of God in your past, present, and future. In Psalm 66, the psalmist writes gratefully (even excitedly) about the blessings of the past. While Psalm 67, gratefully (and confidently) focuses on the blessings to come. Frankly, you can’t spend too much time on either of those subjects, but I’ll take a stab at both.
Let me remind you (and myself) of all that God has done. He created you, formed you, planned out your entire life (Psalm 139), though you maintain your free will (Revelation 3:20), and He provides for you (Matthew 6:8), protects you (Psalm 28:7), sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17), and delights in you, especially when you delight in Him (Psalm 37:4, 23). He has prepared opportunities for you to be a blessing and to be used by Him (Ephesians 2:10). He bends down to hear your prayers and desires a relationship with you (Psalm 116:1-2). He gave you His Word and all the promises therein (II Samuel 22:31). He gave His only Son to be a ransom for you (Mark 10:45, John 3:16-17), and if you know Him, He is preparing a place in Heaven for you, and He is coming to get you so that you can eventually spend eternity in His presence (John 14:1-3). He gave you one more day on this earth with breath in your body and sense in your head (both of which you must have, if you’re able to read this right now – Psalm 118:24, Lamentations 3:22-23). He has given you every good thing that you have (James 1:17), and He has made Himself available to you every minute of every day of your life (Psalm 30:5). If that isn’t enough, believe me, I have only scratched the surface.
Now, let’s look beyond the concerns of the moment (not to minimize them, but to get perspective) to the promises of the future. If you are seeking Him, He will cause His face to shine upon you (Psalm 67:1, 119:35). He will give you that peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). And I can assure you that no need is outside of His power, His purpose, and His Sovereignty (Psalm 138:8, Jeremiah 32:17, Romans 8:28). He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10, 136:1). His resources are limitless (Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 11:6). If you keep your heart pure and humble yourself before Him, He will shine a light on your way, and He will never leave you or forsake you (Psalm 31:16, 119:11, II Chronicles 16:9a, Hebrews 13:5). When you feel attacked, cornered, and defeated in this life, remember that God’s promises are true, and He is for you (Exodus 14:13, Joshua 1:8, Romans 8:31). Christ Himself is your mediator (your defense attorney, if you will), and when your Father looks at you, He sees the righteousness of His Beloved Son (Isaiah 61:10, Philippians 3:19, I Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 4:14. And your accuser is not nearly as powerful as he’d like you to believe. Even Satan is just one of God’s created beings, and his ultimate defeat is another promise that you can take to the bank (Matthew 25:41, Hebrews 10:12-14, James 4:7). You, on the other hand, have the hope of eternal life, a home in heaven, and a glorious future (I Peter 1:3-5).
This Thanksgiving (and every time you go before the Throne of Grace – Hebrews 4:16), remember to look both ways. Look back to remember all the times that your cup has run over, and look ahead to see His goodness and mercy following you all the way into eternity (Psalm 23:5-6). And once you’ve finished counting all those blessings (I expect you’ll be a while), look up and give thanks. A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Put your Black Friday and Christmas Shopping List aside and make a list of blessings to thank God for during this season. Let praise be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table. Remember, your cup runneth over.