Why is it that I find it so incredibly easy to produce a long fluffy list of things for which I’m thankful that doesn’t include a single intangible item? Perhaps it comes from the continuous rhythmic beat of our culture that has us dancing to the drum of materialism. Perhaps it flows out of the truth in the age-old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind!” However, could it be that I’ve simply lost touch with the most precious gifts that God has given me–things for which I should be continuously thankful? Could it be that the things for which I should be most thankful are things that I’ve really never been thankful for before?
How many times have I thanked God for wisely saying ‘no’ to certain fervent prayers? How often have I worshipped Him for graciously slamming a door shut before me that seemed to be the perfect path forward? How frequently have I bowed before the Lord to honor Him for mercifully taking away something that appeared to be ideal for me? How regularly have I displayed a heart of joyful thanksgiving to God for sovereignly bringing into my life painful changes that were later transformational?
Rarely, if ever.
This week, the Spirit has led me to ponder the breadth of unconventional blessings that I’ve received from the Father in the form of many ‘no’ responses, slammed doors, things taken away, and painful changes. How much heartbreak, needless suffering, and time wasting was avoided by His kind–yet unwelcome at the time–intervention? How many new opportunities, relationships, and open doors would have been unrealized had it not been for His infinite wisdom acting to override my self-indulgent will?
Please know that not for even a moment would I suggest that our thanksgiving for material things is misplaced–heavens no! We are indescribably blessed in the western world. Even the poorest of the poor in first world countries has better access to basic necessities than the average person in many lands; but, I’m certain that is no new news to you. My prayer is not that we would cease to thank Him continually for our running water, hot cups of coffee, healthy families, or gas for our car(s), but that we might begin to be thankful unconventionally, too.