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It Could be Worse

I know a man that whenever someone says, “how’s it going?” his answer is, “it could be worse”. While the statement is obviously true, I wonder if he will ever say, “it’s getting better”. So for me the question is, is he thankful that it’s not worse or is he sad that it is not any better? I think that his outlook is pretty common. Many people are not grateful for what they have and are on wanting more. It seems to me that it is not so much a problem of what we don’t have as it is a problem of thinking so much about what we want. Most of us need an attitude adjustment. It is at this point that the Bible has some good advice for us no matter what we have or how things are going.

Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Had I written these verses I would have put verse 18 first. It is God’s will that we celebrate thanksgiving every day. If we are thankful for what we have, it is a lot easier to be joyful and to know what to pray for because we are in a better place to listen to God. Gratefulness is a wonderful healer.

In this season of thanksgiving it is important to hear and understand what God’s word says about what we need and what we want.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

One cannot really understand God’s desire for us to be thankful unless we understand what God has promised to provide. In the promise of Philippians 4:19 it speaks of meeting needs. Much of our sorrow for not having is based on wants not needs. Many of our wants are based on what others have or what the advertisers say we need to look good in other peoples eyes. The “all circumstances” that we are to be thankful for include everything that comes our way. We have a tendency to feel we earned it or deserve it so why should we be thankful? Remember that God gave you the mind, the body, the voice and the motivation to get where you are. Be thankful for those things. God has a hand in all we receive.

Every evening thank God for what He has provided that day and make sure that you thank the people that He used to get it to you. By thanking them you become God’s encouraging delivery system to give them something to be thankful for. Every morning thank Him for the day that is before you and ask for guidance on how to use what He has given you to make things better for those around you.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

Many have been ruined by getting what they wanted and many of those who trust God have been saved from problems because God said no. If we really believe that “God works for the good of those who love him” then we will put two very important things together, trust and thankfulness.

Most of us are good at anticipating things. We wait for our birthday and Christmas because we want the gifts. We wait to graduate so we can move into a new phase of our lives. We wait for the right person to come along so we will have a life partner. We trust that there will be people who are in the right place at the right time to fulfill those needs. We need to also anticipate what God has for us at each crossroad in our life. He has planned it all out and given us a model in His Son. Be like Him and be thankful that He took most of the pain both now and eternally so we don’t have to suffer as He did.

By Pastor Robert Rathbun