We are often caught up in the routine of our lives and barely notice the changes happening in the world around us. Then, one day we notice the Geese migrating, the color is changing on the trees, the summer heat is gone, and we need a jacket in the cool of the evening. Somehow, we find ourselves in the middle of Autumn and another summer has passed. This is the time when we begin to think about the Thanksgiving holiday. It is traditionally the time for us to join together with family and friends to enjoy a meal and give thanks. This is a good tradition with a heritage for us as Americans beginning in the early days of our nation that President John F. Kennedy described this way, “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together, and for the faith which united them with their God”.
Somehow though, in our culture, the family has been fragmented, and our ability to join together fractured with fears of a pandemic. Are we safe? Is our food supply secure? Some businesses have been crushed by the economic shut-down while others are flourishing as our cultural norms are challenged in ways we never imagined possible. Yet, God is still our God. Our relationship with Him is still intact and whatever we face we are to Philippians 4:6 (KJV) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. Making our requests known is not a one-sided action. This prayer, talking to God and telling Him what we are facing is the place we go to find help. This is not the help the world has to give, a sympathetic shoulder to cry on that says “Oh, you poor thing”. No, God made a way for us to come to Him through Jesus Christ and says in Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) “Let us therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.
Our help comes from God as it says in Psalm 121:1–2 (KJV) “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, From whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, Which made heaven and earth”. God reminds us in Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”. God has promised that he will uphold us. But, you may say, when Lord? These things we face are pressing and we cry out Psalm 70:1 (KJV) “Make haste, O God, to deliver me; Make haste to help me, O LORD”. We are impatient for the answer and say Psalm 109:26–27 (KJV) “Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: 27 That they may know that this is thy hand; That thou, LORD, hast done it”. We want God to give us the answer we want and we want it now! God is not our puppy trained to respond to our command. God is righteous and knows what we need even better than we do. It is He that is working on our behalf in Romans 8:27–28 (KJV) “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
Our hope and our help are in our faith in God and we are to, as it says in Colossians 4:2 (KJV) “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. As we pray and watch, we will see God work for our good. What makes this hard for us is that we cannot always see how God is working also in the lives of people around us. The outcome God is working is not just about us, it is also about all those that call on Him. This is why it says that we should continue in faith, living our lives with faith and patience and action in Hebrews 6:12 (KJV) “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises”. We then are workers together with God to demonstrate His loyal love and goodness to the world around us.
Our prayer then goes beyond what we need for ourselves and even beyond what we need for our family. This is why we are encouraged to take a place as intercessors for those around us beginning not with ourselves but beginning with those in a position of authority. It says in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV) “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. This is not prayer for people we like, and it is not prayer for what we want God to do. And this prayer is not just that we live quiet and peaceful lives. This prayer is also that we live in godliness and honesty. Godliness and honesty are necessary if people are to be saved. Godliness and honesty are necessary if people are to come to a knowledge of the truth. Our prayer for godliness and honesty for our President, for our national Legislators, for our Supreme Court Justices has never been more important than it is right now. And this is to be made with Thanksgiving even if we don’t see the behavior, we expect from them.
In this season, our thanks go to God for our future and hope in Christ and also for what He is doing in us now as it says in 2 Corinthians 2:14–15 (KJV) “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:” so that this Thanksgiving as always and in every day His goodness is made known in us and through us.