Cultivating a Thankful Heart

Philippians 4:4-7 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

There are days where it seems to be one horrifying news story after another. Seasons where our lives seem to take turns we never thought possible. Too often it can feel like the ground beneath our feet is crumbling, and times when we can barely hold it together. How do we rejoice in that? How do we find thankfulness when our hearts ache and the world seems too dark?

I have been in a few of those places and felt more than my fair share of those moments. I am keenly aware that for every pain I have felt someone has felt one worse than mine. I am sure of this, each one of us faces a hurting heart in our lifetime. Sometimes that ache will never leave, it will stay with us. Thus, thankfulness can feel incredibly impossible and hard to find. 

Here is the truth we know from God’s Word:

  • We can rejoice no matter what. 
  • We can petition God no matter our anxieties. 
  • We can be thankful in the midst because God is with us. 
  • When He is with us, He will supply us with His peace that is beyond our worldly ability to understand. 
  • He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ. 

It doesn’t mean that the pain may be less or the sorrow minimized but it does mean that we can have a heart of thankfulness because of who God is and not because of our circumstances around us. 

That is how a heart of thankfulness is cultivated in us, by God’s very hands. 

The posture of our hearts and hope matters when it comes to being thankful. 

I cannot help but think back to the days right after losing my dad to a brain aneurysm. His death was so unexpected, there was no time to say goodbye or speak from the heart. He was gone. I felt as if there was no ground under my feet, and for the first time in my life at the age of 21, I felt as though I would never breathe normally again. My heart would never be the same. 

Yet, somehow in the middle of all the pain, I rested in what I knew of God and the beautiful things that He gave me when it came to my dad. Looking back now I can see tokens of love that God dropped in my lap during those weeks. 

My thankfulness wasn’t dependent on my circumstances because they were truly awful. My thankfulness rested in my Heavenly Father who never left my side, who heard my prayers and delivered supernatural peace. 

This Thanksgiving season, no matter how bleak your circumstances feel. No matter how painful or challenging your days remember that a heart of thanks doesn’t find its root there. No, it is found in Christ and where we place our trust. It comes in rejoicing in Him, and resting in His perfect peace. 

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