Thanksgiving is this Thursday. While it is the time to give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done for us, how often do we think about the things He hasn’t done? Pastor Chad talked about God giving the Israelites a king when they continued to beg for one. He knew what they were ultimately asking for even if they didn’t. They didn’t necessarily think they were rejecting God, but He knew what would happen down the road.
How often are we completely frustrated when God does not give us the answer we are looking for? When you think back on those times can you now see why He didn’t give that answer? Can you see the good that came because of the answer you received? We need to make sure we are remembering and being thankful for those times, too.
For the Israelites, Psalm 136 is a reminder of all the things God had done for them. Do you have a list like that? What a wonderful thing to be able to look at whenever we are discouraged. We have the Old Testament to see all the things God did for the Israelites, but what are the things God has done for you personally? I would challenge you, and myself, to sit down this Thanksgiving and think of all the things God has done in your life that have changed the course of your life for the better. They may have been little things then, but how have they impacted your life for good?
God listens to us, and He knows our hearts. He sees the future and the impact tiny decisions make on our lives. God knew the bad things that would come because of the Israelites’ demands for a king. He knew Ahab and Jezebel would be coming in the line of those kings. He knew the Israelites’ decisions would only cause problems for them, but He knew they needed to learn for themselves. They weren’t listening to Him anymore. Reading about them turning their backs on God always flabbergasted me. How in the world could they not remember all the things He had done for them? How did they not remember the miraculous ways He fed them and cared for them in their forty years in the wilderness? And then I realize, I do the exact same thing. I forget all the times He has blessed us greatly, and I get frustrated in my small, relatively insignificant moment. Or I panic and forget His faithfulness. Sometimes the word “Wait” in God’s answer to our prayers seems long and painful. Sometimes it seems like silence and that He has abandoned us because we want our answer NOW. But He just wants us to wait. The timing is not right. There were approximately 400 years between the Old and New Testament. God’s people were waiting so very long for the Messiah that had been promised that most of them forgot what they were waiting for.
In 1 Kings 17 and 18, we see three years go by while the Israelites had no water. God could have given up on the Israelites, but He kept pursuing them despite their rebellion and sin. He sent Elijah back and proceeded to show them how much He cared about them. He showed them that He listened and provided over and over. You may not have lightning coming down from the sky and lighting your soaked altar on fire like God did for Elijah, but I’m not sure many of us need that. What do you need? How has God provided for you in the past, or how is God providing for that need right now? Don’t forget His faithfulness and don’t miss His loving care right now. He is with you. Give thanks!