Autumn time is a wonderful time of the year in the UK and we can be particularly conscious of how much we have to be thankful of to God our provider. It is very easy to be consumed with doom and gloom in the crazy times in which we live – however, despite all of this we must maintain an attitude of thankfulness for what God so clearly provides to sustain us. We have become used to a consumer-led society where we have rights and entitlements and the word ‘poverty’ is frequently used by politicians although very few people experience true poverty in this country. Our Lord provides and sustains all of what is good:
- Food and Water – the provision of food and water is an immediate concern for many of the world’s population, but we have plentiful supplies at incredibly cheap prices if we’re honest. The food-chain (a topic in itself!) is a fine balance climatically, economically and geopolitically and there are many things that could cause this to quickly grind to a complete halt. Let’s continually thank God for the food in front of us and the resources to provide for ourselves and our families – life may not be perfect, but very few people in the UK are genuinely starving.
- Health and Life – we all struggle with ill-health, injury and bereavement as no-one is immune from this. The fact is that life will ALWAYS feel a struggle and be met with physical and emotional challenges. This is the unfortunate side-affect of the fall which means our bodies and minds don’t operate as they were designed to. However, the fact that we are all blessed with the gift of life in the first place is a marvelous thing – we believe God is actively hands-on in sustaining life whilst at the same time nudging us to turn to Him as Creator. Our lives occupy a small window of time – let’s try to look above our struggles and thank God for the gift of life we have been given – better still, let’s try to live lives of submission and service trying to determine to best way to please God and draw others to Him.
- The pleasures of life – this sounds an odd thing but there is so much beauty in the world around. We’re not talking of the parts that have been ruined or polluted by mankind but the natural things. We are thinking of things such as the gift of eyes to see the awesome beauty of the natural world around us, the amazing design of the human face that can share smiles and laughter or sheer exhilaration of the sensations of the gentle breeze or warm sunshine. The world as God intended it was a place of perfection in every way and although in a current state of fracture and decay, there are undeniable glimpses of the perfection that await those to look forward to the return of the Lord when it is restored.
- Love – this word can mean so many things but we are referring to the ‘agape’ love spoken of frequently by Jesus. This is far removed from the shallow and instinct-driven ‘love’ that our culture teaches and is based solely on emotions and feelings – this is a deep sacrificial love that is concerned with others and this alone proves the existence of a Creator God. The is no greater thing than to love and be loved. With love often comes pain, but you have cannot one without the other! The God-given ability to love and be loved provide the world we live in with meaning and direction. The ultimate manifestation of this was demonstrated when Jesus Christ willing gave Himself for us to save us from our sin – He permanently bears the scars of this sacrifice and all who accept His offer of forgiveness can share an eternity with Him as Lord and King.
Life is not and will not be easy – Job went through some shocking trials and demonstrated a sincere faith despite his immense suffering:
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (Job 1:20-22)
The world we live in presently exists in a fallen state and will remain this way until the Lord Jesus restores it. In fact, the Bible teaches that the world will get much worse before the return of Jesus and there is clear evidence for this wherever you look. However, whatever we are experiencing, there is MUCH to be thankful for – let us encourage you to look at the BIG picture and give thanks to the Lord for His provision in various ways. A thankful heart is much more able to deal with the difficulties in life. Jesus is coming back soon – until then, let’s grit our teeth, work hard in His service and look forward to that wonderful day of restoration!
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)