This season of Thanksgiving can be a mess of emotions and thoughts.  There is intense stress with all that we put into our gatherings.  There are uncomfortable situations with family and unresolved issues for yet another year.  But despite all of that, it really is a season to be Thankful.

But what does that really mean?  When I think of being thankful, I think of having joy, being glad and being content with what I have and what I have been given.

David said “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11)  

David also said “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”
(Psalm 16:8-10)

Being glad and having joy has all to do with being content.  This is a word that is misused so much in our society today.  Let’s evaluate what contentment is NOT:

  • It’s not pretending things are OK when they’re not
  • It’s not giving up on trying to make things better
  • It’s not finally being comfortable because all needs have been met

Then what IS contentment?

It is being satisfied that God always provides what is needed for His plan and in His time… and trusting Him even when you don’t see the full picture.

Paul had this kind of contentment even while in prison.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Phil 4:11)

Jesus the man even had to learn to be content with the ‘cup’ He had been given by His Father.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

This Thanksgiving, I would guess that just about every single person reading this post has reasons to be frustrated.  You are disappointed about something, stressed about something… even fearful about something.  But this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to think like Paul and learn to be content.  Not to give up on change, not to throw in the towel… but to rest in the arms of your savior and know that His will be done.

Giving thanks for what He has provided does not mean giving up on the yet unanswered prayers.  Keep petitioning Him.  But this year, my prayer is that you truly reach a place of contentment and give thanks to your Lord and Savior.

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