We’re told that Thanksgiving is a time you should feel thankful for your blessings regardless of how you are really feeling inside. I was given this article 20 years ago not long after my son took his own life. Me, feeling thankful for anything? I don’t think so. However, I committed to read this article every day for a year, and I can tell you it changed my whole concept of thanksgiving and feeling thankful. I hope it will do the same for you. jb.**
THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING BY DIANE PLAMONDON
“A simple prayer of thanksgiving has the power to transform us immediately, to provide a solution to even our greatest challenge, to bring us help at the time of our most urgent need”.
A Broken Radiator, but Opportunity Smiles
Some years ago, while living in a small town in west Texas, a friend decided to take a trip in the late spring to a town over a hundred miles away. That is not a long distance in this part of the country where towns are often far apart with not much in between, except some beautiful scenery. The sky was azure blue and cloudless, the sun already brilliant and hot. The deserted road wound through homeless landscape.
Suddenly and without warning, there was a problem with the car. It came to a halt, and radiator fluid ran over the road. The immediate concern was not the car but the heat. The wait for help might be long, and there was little shade. My friend’s first inclination was to panic, but then she firmly turned her mind to God and began giving thanks for the power of God that she felt was there protecting her on that lonely road. Seemingly out of nowhere, a man in a pickup truck appeared. He drove her the many miles to the next town where she was able to call relatives to complete her rescue.
When We Open Our Minds, We Are Open to Help
Don’t we find it difficult to think of thanksgiving when we are faced with challenging situations? It would seem against reason to thank God at such times. It may feel as if we are thanking God for the challenge, but the nature of God is such that God does not create the challenge, nor can God be the challenge. God is always the answer, the overcoming. Even though it may not seem so, that which we need is always at hand ready to be made available to us. We can, however, block the very help we need by allowing our minds to remain fixed on the problem rather than be open to the solution.
On a cold winter day, a woman walked out of her door to pick up a newspaper that had been thrown in the middle of an ice-covered road that ran in front of her apartment. Suddenly her feet went out from under her, and she found herself on the ground, in pain, and unable to move. She realized that she was in great danger of being hit by a car coming up the hill and the driver would not be able to see her lying there. No one was on the street, and all the windows were closed against the weather. She silently prayed, not knowing what else to do. Then she began to thank God for help that had not yet appeared. It came to her to call out in a loud voice even though she had no idea who would hear her. After several minutes a neighbor opened the door, rushed to her side, and then called an ambulance. Later it was discovered that the neighbor had been sleeping in a back bedroom and could not explain how she had been able to hear her neighbor’s voice.
Thanksgiving Aligns You With the Power of God*
We can literally co-create a new life for ourselves through aligning our minds with the power of God within us. So powerful is thanksgiving in restoring or “calling forth” the life force of the body, that it might instantly lift us out of physical peril or bring us back from the very brink of death. In a great demonstration of the power of giving thanks, Jesus called forth Lazarus from the tomb. *
While standing before the tomb of Lazarus with the crowd that gathered there, Jesus affirmed His faith in the unlimited power of God, even in seemingly impossible situations. When Martha, sister of Lazarus, reminded Jesus that her brother was indeed dead, He said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God”? Jesus then prayed audibly, making sure that those gathered could hear Him, thanking the Father for the power that Jesus knew worked through Him even in the face of apparent death. Having opened His mind to receive through an affirmation of faith, Jesus brought forth a blessing not yet made visible but that He knew was already present. In a loud voice, Jesus called out to Lazarus, and with life restored, Lazarus emerged from the tomb.
Sometimes it seems beyond our strength to look past the present challenge and to thank God in advance for help in overcoming, yet this is precisely what our relationship with God involves. Keeping our attention focused on the challenge serves to keep us “in the tomb”, paralyzing us in our attempts to get on with life. The power of thanksgiving opens the way to overcoming and to moving forward to embrace a new life.
Spiritual Law of Increase
Because Jesus’ attention was focused on good and thanksgiving for good, good had to increase. The spiritual law of increase says that whatever we bless and give thanks for must increase and multiply. The essence of the ministry of Jesus was to show us how we can increase the good in our lives in whatever form it might be needed.
He had great compassion for people and for the challenges we all experience in life, but Jesus did not allow His attention to remain on the challenge at hand. He immediately acknowledged the power of God within Himself and in all people; He knew that no challenge could withstand the presence of this power. It was for this power working in the midst of life that He gave thanks, knowing that whatever the need, it would be supplied.
Jesus used the power of thanksgiving to multiply the loaves and fishes that fed the multitudes. In the Gospel according to Matthew, we find two accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes. In both accounts, Jesus took a few loaves and fishes, and before the crowd of thousands of people, He blessed the food on hand and gave thanks. He affirmed His faith that in God there is no lack of supply. It was obvious to everyone gathered that the food was insufficient to feed even a few people. Through faith in God actively working in the midst of the need, Jesus was able to call forth such an abundant supply that everyone was fed and there was even food left over.
Beginning With What We Have
Because God is the source of what we now have, feeling thankful for the good we have in our lives right now has the power to attract even more good to us. Any time we express thankfulness, we can be sure we will increase that for which we are thankful, because while it is God that is our supply, we have aligned ourselves with spiritual law.
If it is greater health we need, we can begin by being thankful for the health we now have. We can be sure that God only wills health for us. If it is material supply or a new life filled with loving relationships, when we are thankful for what we have, we call forth the presence of God and every need is fulfilled.
A simple prayer of thanksgiving is a moment-to-moment prayer, not reserved for a certain occasion or for blessings that we have already received. It can change our lives dramatically when we thank God even in the midst of our greatest challenge. We may not know the answer or the solution or how we can possibly overcome, but God does. With a prayer of thanksgiving, we open our minds to receive the great blessing that God has for us. There can be no end to our blessings through the power of thanksgiving.
Whether an unhappy situation changes or not, we are changed through the power of thanksgiving. We can have a sense of freedom and of peace by “giving thanks to God the Father at all times”. (Ephesians 5:20)