Summary: Our gracious God gives us every reason to be thankful

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Thanksgiving today is often a mild-mannered holiday full of football, hot apple pie, and family reunions. Those things are nice, but they don’t really paint an accurate picture of thankfulness. Thanksgiving is more often born of adversity and difficult times. Many of the greatest expressions of thankfulness have occurred under circumstances so devastating that we might wonder how people could even give thanks. It would seem more reasonable to respond with bitterness and ingratitude.

A particular hymn comes to mind. Martin Reinkardht wrote it in 1607. The name of the hymn is "Now Thank We All Our God." In the year that Rinkardht wrote that hymn it’s important to note that over 6000 people in his German village, including his wife and his children, died of the Bubonic plague. Yet, in the midst of that catastrophic loss Reinkardht set down to pen this great hymn of praise: “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices.” The Christian faith affirms that in the midst of everything--in death, in loss, in hardship--we can turn to God in praise.

Out of great suffering have come the greatest expressions of gratitude. And so I suggest to you this morning that in the wake of the terrorist attacks, the afghan war, the anthrax attacks, and the economic slump WE HAVE ALL THE MORE REASON TO GIVE THANKS! 1) We Have a Mighty God, and 2) His Love Endures Forever.

1) We Have a Mighty God

Reading through this psalm we find an accurate picture of adversity. This psalmist certainly wasn’t a stranger to adversity. In fact, adversity and trouble plagued him much of his life. The psalm says, “In my anguish, I called out to the LORD.” This fellow knew hardships.

I’m sure we can all relate to this writer up to a point. We know what it’s like to call out to God in anguish. But this writer learned he had all the more reason to give thanks to God, especially in time of hardship. I believe we often fail to understand that. We think that when things are going fine, then, that’s the only time to give God thanks. What happens then is that we’re often tempted to just give thanks for the things we think are important. We give thanks for our jobs when we get a raise. We give thanks for our families when they don’t cause troubles. We give thanks for our stock portfolios when the economy is up. We give thanks for our homes when they’re full of nice stuff.

What about those other times; the times when things don’t go so great? You find out your father is diagnosed with cancer, and so, you cry out! Your husband comes home and tells you that he just lost his job. And you cry out! You hear about your neighbor whose wife had another miscarriage. You cry out! The phone rings, “your grandma just passed away” or “ your niece just broke her arm.” In anguish, you go to God and pour your heart out. You throw yourself at him. You tell him how much it hurts. And it does. The hurt is real as you try to catch your breath because you’ve been crying so hard. The hurt is all too real as you see the pain in your loved ones’ eyes.

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