Replace Complaining with Gratitude

Published 1:16 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

Gale and I went shopping for our family Thanksgiving turkey the other night. We wanted to buy it early enough so it would have time to thaw in the refrigerator, but I have to admit that after some of the things the media have been proclaiming lately I was not totally sure how expensive the bird would be—or if a suitable one would be available. When we got to the store she quickly spotted a freezer adequately stocked with the holiday birds so there was a good deal of optimism that we would find what we needed for our family. The turkeys we checked on were store brand and nothing fancy, but that was good enough for us. As I rummaged through the pile I found a twelve pounder just as I hoped. I had a bit of sticker shock, though, when I looked at the price tag attached: $35.00! To my relief, it became apparent that that particular turkey was mispriced and the actual cost was less than half that much. Delighted with what we found, we made our purchase and are looking forward to a great day with our family.

As I look back at the past year and beyond, I am once again reminded that I have so much to be thankful for. I have to admit that I am sometimes prone to grumble, yet when I pause and take a serious look at life and consider God’s abundant blessings I find that there should be no place for complaints. That does not mean that everything always goes in a way that is pleasing to me, for surely it does not. But on any given day the good things always outweigh the bad.

There is a statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that is sometimes referred to this time of year: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (New International Version). That might bring to our minds the challenge that we face of being thankful during the hard times of life, nevertheless, those are included in the “all circumstances” mentioned in that verse so even in the tough spots we are to give thanks. We would also do well to remind ourselves to be thankful in the little circumstances of life that can so easily pass by without us recognizing them as what they are—blessings from God.

Perhaps one of the privileges that we fail to be thankful for enough is the opportunity to communicate with God in prayer. In all our concerns in life, He invites us to turn to Him. We should take comfort as we remember the words that the Lord gave to the prophet Jeremiah centuries ago: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Over the years I have knocked on many doors while out visiting the sick and needy. Sometimes a quick knock brings an immediate response as the door opens, but at other times there is a delay—sometimes for only a few minutes, but at other times I have to return another day and knock again. As we seek God in prayer, we have to bear in mind that sometimes in His great wisdom and plan there is an immediate answer, while at other times there is a delay. Yet, as His children, we can rest assured that He hears us, loves us, and will do what is best for us as we trust Him. That communication with Him is truly something to be thankful for!

As we go through this Thanksgiving season, let us remember that sincere thankfulness has a way of brightening even dreary days. Pay attention to those things—even little things–that might be right before your eyes that you previously failed to be thankful for. We are blessed, so “Give thanks in all circumstances” and let’s all strive to replace our complaining with gratitude.