by Skip Heitzig
One of the great joys of Thanksgiving is leftovers. For some reason, turkey and dressing taste just as good reheated as they do fresh out of the oven, maybe better. But I found a website that added up the calories from that delicious stuff, and the exercise necessary to burn it off. How much walking would you need to do for a turkey sandwich, some stuffing, some mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a piece of apple pie with ice cream? Over 13 miles! Add some gravy, and you're up to nearly 15 miles! I don't know about you, but I don't have the time to walk 15 miles after a meal!
But thinking about leftovers brings me back to what I was talking about last week, because we're right in the middle of the long Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving is an indication of the heart. It shows that our lives are in balance—that our communication with the Lord is not all about our wants and our needs.
There are two levels of gratitude. Let's call them the lower level and the upper level. Unfortunately—and I admit I'm in this category—we kind of dwell in the lower level. That's where we see God's work in our lives as intermittent spurts of goodness. Some big blessing comes along and we say, "Thank you, Lord!" But living on that level of gratitude only shows that we are selfish, and that we miss the total perspective of God's goodness. We thank Him for the pleasurable things, because our view of goodness is comfort, rather than becoming like Jesus.
The upper level, the higher level, is consistently thanking God, in the good and the bad, believing that all things will work out for good to those who love Him (see Romans 8:28). I admit I have a long way to go on this one! I often complain instead of saying, "You're in control and I thank You, even though I don't understand it."
Corrie ten Boom was sent to a prison camp for hiding Jews from the Nazis. There, her sister said they should thank God for everything in their barracks. Corrie refused to give thanks for the fleas that infested their bedding, but later she found out that those fleas kept the guards from entering the barracks, enabling them to have daily prayer meetings. So she said, "Thank you, Lord, for the fleas!"
So while you're thanking the God "who satisfies your mouth with good things" (Psalms 103:5), remember that He's in control and He knows best. Let's bless the Lord in all things, because God is good all the time!
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Hopelessness may be an epidemic, but it is not new. Even Jesus' disciples expressed hopelessness after His death. But that was before He rose from the grave to offer a living hope to all who put their faith in Him. Get to know the God of all hope in Optimisfits: Igniting a Fierce Rebellion Against Hopelessness by Ben Courson.