November 25, 2004
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian army officer when he was arrested on trumped-up charges by the Soviet Communist regime and sent to a Siberian labor camp for eleven years. Solzhenitsyn later exposed the horrors of that system in his disturbing book, The Gulag Archipelago.
Those prisoners suffered in ways beyond our imagination. But Solzhenitsyn could also write, “Thank you, prison cell,” for it was through his ordeal that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn met Jesus Christ and his life was changed forever.
Thanksgiving may be only one day a year on the world’s calendar. But for those of us who know the Lord, thanksgiving is to become "thanksliving." Saying “thank you” for a gift or favor doesn’t come hard to most people. But living with a spirit of gratitude is another story altogether. The grace of God has to become operative in our hearts before we can say with conviction, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Praise is not only “beautiful” for the upright; it’s also the unmistakable mark of a believer. If you want an eye-opening study, trace the words “thanks” or “thanksgiving” through Paul’s writings and see how much gratitude is part of what it means to be a Christian.
When thanksgiving becomes a way of life, it is the first thing that comes out of our mouths, and we can begin to thank God in any circumstance. If fact, this is His revealed will for us. When we pray with a spirit of genuine gratitude and adoration to God in everything, our praise produces peace. Why? It is because the Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people.
How can you truly be thankful for everything this season and all year round? By knowing that God will never allow anything to happen to you that’s outside of His perfect will. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10), and why He prayed the same for Himself as He faced the cross (Matthew 26:39).
ASK GOD TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PERFECT WILL IN YOUR LIFE,
AND YOU CAN BEGIN TO THANK HIM FOR EVERYTHING HE SENDS—
INCLUDING THE WORST.