For those of us who try to make gratefulness a priority all year long, this is a welcome season! It helps us focus on gratitude on a daily basis. It’s a time when even our culture encourages us to be thankful.
I recently read Psalm 103, and it’s a wonderful thanksgiving passage. Let’s look at the first six verses.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Wow, what a list of benefits from our Lord! Forgiveness, healing, redemption, lovingkindness (so often undeserved, might I add), and good things to satisfy our mouth. (And won’t we have an abundance of those on Thanksgiving day!!) Verse two tells us not to forget all these benefits; remembering what God has done for us is important!
My mind has been drawn to God’s healing this week. My sister’s husband just lost his mother to cancer at a relatively young age. Our family and many others prayed for her for a long time, asking God to take away the cancer and heal her body.
God answered our prayer for healing, but not in the way we would have prescribed. A few days ago, He gave her a permanent healing, an everlasting relief from her pain. It’s another life circumstance that can make us want to doubt His goodness and providence. Yet we know that giving thanks in all things is part of His will for us. [I Thessalonians 5:18] And we trust in His plan to always do what is for our good and His glory.
In verses 10-12, we find a benefit that only God can give us, forgiveness of sins.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Mercy. That’s God’s compassion and forbearance raining down on us. It can’t even be measured. We could never in a million lifetimes have paid for our sin. Yet Jesus Christ took it all on Himself, and paid our penalty.
Verses 15-16 remind us of just how fast our lives go by.
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
Let’s be thankful for the time we have. We each get a certain number of years to flourish and prosper. But they’re short. And then, just like when a flower dies, we won’t be remembered long here. But each day we’re given, we can be doing what will matter when we’re gone as we love others, share our faith, and seek to bring glory to God.
Then verse 19 brings hope for our souls.
The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
I might be a little depressed these days if I thought all I had was this life here on earth. There’s lots of injustice, dishonesty, corruption, and plain ol’ evil. But we just read that God’s got a throne in heaven and that one day, He will reign over all. So whether or not politics goes our way or justice seems to be served, we can be thankful that all will one day be made right by the King of Kings.
The last verse of Psalm 103 brings us full circle.
Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.
Bless the Lord with me in this Thanksgiving season!!
On a personal note, I hope you and those you’re celebrating with have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’re spending the week, just the four of us, in a cabin in the mountains near Pigeon Forge, TN. Our Thanksgiving meal will be courtesy of Cracker Barrel. (Not a first for us, for sure, even though some kids in one of my daughter’s classes told her that eating at Cracker Barrel doesn’t count as a real Thanksgiving meal, ha!! Don’t worry – one day soon, I’ll make all our Thanksgiving favorites at home!)
I’m very thankful for each one of you who takes the time to read this blog. May you recognize God’s goodness in your life, not only at Thanksgiving, but every day of the year!