Every year, I am captivated by the Instagram posts from our friends in the United States, during Thanksgiving time. The holiday seems to be a fantastic occasion for loved ones to create lasting memories and, more importantly, express gratitude to the Lord. This federal holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, and is often referred to as American Thanksgiving. It is a time rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional feast includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Despite being the busiest time of the year, family members make it a point to come together and enjoy each other's company. It's a truly special tradition. This occasion somewhat relates to the word of the Lord which says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1; ESV).
Life can be tough, and it's not uncommon to feel like we're lost at sea without anything to be grateful for. We may look back on our struggles, the hardships we endured and the pains we overcame, and unknowingly sink into a pit of sorrow that drains our sense of thankfulness. However, if we focus solely on the negative events around us, we may miss out on the opportunity to give God the thanks that He deserves.
This year, I lost my beloved brother, who had always been my biggest “go-to” person when trouble arose in our family, and our family's defender. His passing felt like a devastating nightmare, especially since it happened at the same time God opened an incredible opportunity for my ministry. I lost my joy and my ability to be thankful to God, in the midst of my grief. Pain has a way of taking away our happiness and making us overlook the good things in our lives. Despite my mixed emotions, I realized that giving thanks was crucial, even in the storm. I learned that we don't just give thanks to God when things are going well, but also when we're hurting. God's goodness doesn't depend on our circumstances; He remains faithful even in our darkest moments.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV), we are reminded to "...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." This instruction offers a powerful way to refocus our thoughts and meditate on the Lord's power to overcome any obstacles. Expressing thanksgiving, even during painful moments, demonstrates maturity in our faith, and an unwavering trust in God's promises. When we choose to give thanks in all things, we release joy that can conquer sorrow, and create an environment that welcomes the presence of the Lord. Our thanksgiving not only offers Him the gift of praise, but also shows our love for Him, regardless of our circumstances. By acknowledging God's goodness and mercy, we remain steadfast in our faith and trust that He is a loving God who only wants the best for us.
During King Solomon's reign, the Levitical worshipers gathered together to praise God for the completion of the temple's construction. According to the scriptures, when they all stood in their positions and raised their voices with musical instruments, the glory of the Lord descended upon the temple. The remarkable encounter is recounted in verses 13 and 14 of the book of 2 Chronicles 5:14, describing how the trumpeters and singers joined together in one voice to praise and give thanks to the Lord. They sang, "For He is good; His loving devotion endures forever," accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments. As a result, the temple was engulfed in a cloud of the Lord's glory, and the priests were unable to stand and minister in His presence. (BSB – paraphrased).
Giving thanks to the Lord is a powerful way to invite His presence into your life and circumstances. When His glory comes, it surpasses anything you can do in your strength because the Lord takes over. According to the Englishman's Concordance the Hebrew word, the glory (וד־ֹכבְ (ḵə·ḇō·wḏ- (Strong's 3519): “it signifies the fullness of His spirit and His presence being made visible.” The glory of God represents His fullness, splendour, and abundance, and it is through this that His Spirit can become tangible in our lives. Where the glory of God is, there is freedom from bondage, provision for lack, and restoration from loss. This is why it is crucial to give thanks to God so that He can reign in your life, revive dead situations, and provide divine strength and guidance.
Do not allow pain and suffering to keep you from expressing a heart full of thanksgiving to God; it is in thanking Him that His glory can cover your space. When you give thanks, with faith, you make room for God to be the centre of your celebrations and the centrepiece of every table.
Women of Reverence welcomes Mpho Thulo as a guest contributor for this month.
Mpho Thulo is a wife, a mom, an author and a magazine columnist who writes for Christian magazines such as Lady Rose Magazine, MyFaith Magazine and Arise Magazine. She is a Link FM featured Inspirational Speaker on shows such as Reaching Higher with Bantu and The Lunch Box show with Mr K. Furthermore, Mpho often speaks at various Church conferences, Business networking programs and outreaches. She has contributed to the Faith Daily Devotional publication of Faith TV (DStv Channel 341) and often contributes as a blogger to a notable ministry called Women of Reverence. Mpho lectures at Faith Bible Institute, a full-time 3-Year Bible Training Centre designed to equip individuals in any area of the five-fold ministry. She is the co-founder of the Local Samaritan Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to reduce the plaque of suffering in her community and promote the heart of honouring those who are less fortunate through spiritual and material care.
Mpho's current mission is to continue to create content curated to share Biblical principles that are designed to transform and equip others to identify their callings and purposes for their lives. She aspires to continue writing articles and books that will resemble the lives of women and men who have overcome extreme difficulties to fulfil their God-given dreams and the power to break all manner of limitations.
Her greatest and most important ministry, as she likes to allude to people close to her is loving God and spending significant time with her husband John together with their children. A day well spent with her means having a good journaling time accompanied by a delectable coffee.