I remember a song from an audio tape I bought many years ago. I am not sure I know all the words but the chorus went like this;

A thankful heart
Creates a thankful home,
Filled with love and understanding
So that grace can abound

A thankful heart
Will break down the walls of pride
Overcoming every problem
Should begin with a thankful heart
This song has encouraged me over the years to be thankful even when it seems things around me don't look   good.

I am sure that as the United States of America celebrated thanksgiving last week, there would be many who would find it difficult to give thanks.

For those living in Africa, many are groaning under the harsh economic conditions in their countries and it is so difficult to find reason to be thankful in the face of unfavourable government policies. This is even made more difficult as they see corrupt government officials living in opulence, displaying arrogantly the wealth they acquired illegally. It is tough for a wife to be thankful when her husband walks out on her into the arms of a strange woman. It is tough for children to be thankful as their parents go to war in the courts. I have known what it means to be homeless and without any hope of where to lay my head. I know what it feels like to be without a job and not knowing where the next meal would come from. It is tough being thankful in such a situation.

In spite of all of this however, we do have reason to be thankful. Jesus, our Master had His own share of the struggles and pain which many of us go through today. In spite of    this, He continually gave thanks to the Father. A case in question was when He came to the tomb of Lazarus. There was so much sorrow around Jesus so much so that the Bible says 'He was deeply moved in the spirit and troubled' (John 11:33) The dam of   his emotions broke in John 11:35. The verse simply stated 'Jesus Wept'. This verse is described as the shortest verse in scripture but it is also one of the most important verses showing the tender heart of our Lord. It showed the emotional character of a loving friend.

In verse 41, Jesus prays and the first thing He does is to thank the Father. There is a lesson in this. After all the grief and pain, do we complain and murmur or do we find a reason to give thanks to God?   A Western Nigerian proverb says, 'A person who knows how to think, will know how to be thankful'. Being thankful is a conscious effort. If you do not take time to think deeply, you will never find a reason to give thanks to God.

I have learnt over the years that God is not the author of  evil. Bad things happen to us because of choices we made or which other people made. Some things happen because the world we live in today is tainted by sin and will remain so until a new earth is created. Unfortunately, many innocent people suffer as a result of evil done by others. I do not have all the answers but having gone through so much problems growing up, I have learnt that God is good all the time. He is unchanging in His ways. If He was good yesterday, He is good today and will be good for all eternity.

I still have my share of struggles and challenges but in the midst of it, I see God working to make me a better person than I was yesterday. I discovered that sometimes God uses those challenges as raw materials to shape me and make me what He wants me to be.

Sometimes it is difficult to be thankful but when I remember the song above, I am encouraged at the lines, 'Overcoming every problem should begin with a thankful heart'. This was exemplified in Christ as He gave thanks to God first before issuing the command which broke the hold of death over Lazarus. Giving thanks today could be the beginning of the turning point in your life.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Eph 5:20)
Steve Popoola
Biblepraise Fellowship Online

Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He currently resides in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church as well as in the music ministry. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, steve@biblepraise.org