November 19, 2021 | Devotionals by Adam Morris
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I love getting together with family and sharing a meal together. It’s easy to be thankful when there are so many blessings in front of us. Blessings of relationship and blessings of warm food. But sometimes it’s hard to see those blessings right in front of us, isn’t it? Especially when the past couple of years has been so full of strife and struggle, pain and perseverance…
And even though it has been difficult for all of us, we would be amiss if we didn’t remember that there is no person who has ever walked the face of the earth that has suffered more than Jesus. On the night before Christ was to be mocked, beaten, scourged, scorned, and crucified, our Lord’s soul was in the deepest anguish. I wonder how He may have felt as He walked those steps to the upper room to share His last meal with His disciples. Despite feeling the immense emotional anguish of what He knew was to come, Jesus takes the bread and gives thanks to His heavenly Father.
Likewise, the apostle Paul is another biblical example of a person who was well acquainted with grief, sorrow, and suffering, wasn’t he? A man that was harshly persecuted, beaten, and put in a Roman prison on multiple occasions was someone who was destined for suffering. He knew that God would sustain Him through His trials and tribulations which would one day lead him to be martyred for the faith. And yet, this is a man who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. I wonder how much I fail to do that. Even as I type these words I feel the conviction of my complaints, my bad attitudes, and my wallowing over the past year or so. How can we attune our hearts to be more thankful to a God that cares deeply for us, even when we find ourselves in the midst of suffering?
When Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled and to give thanks in all circumstances, we can know that we have a high priest who is able to sympathize with us, and that he has left us an example, so that we might follow in his steps.
What is this example? In the face of unquantifiable, inexpressible evil — the worst trouble that has ever tortured a human soul — Jesus believed in God the Father’s promise that his work on the cross would overcome the worst, hellish evil in the world. He believed that out of the anguish of his soul he would “see his offspring” and “prolong his days”. He believed that if he humbled himself under God’s mighty hand, his Father would exalt him at the proper time and that every knee would bow and tongue confess that he was Lord to the glory of his Father.
It was that future grace of joy set before Jesus that enabled him to endure the cross and to give thanks as he was being brought there to be crucified. It was that future of inexpressible hope that the apostle Paul clung to during his times of pain. Christ set the example and we, like the apostle Paul, are to follow in His footsteps. He is the founder and perfecter of our faith because he believed the Father’s promise was surer than the doom that lay before him. His giving thanks was a supreme form of worship, for it expressed like nothing else his trust in a good Father whose love endures forever.