“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
As I thought back on what happened in 2019, out of my mouth came gratitude to God. With all my heart I said: “Thank you, God.” There are many reasons I thanked God. I have listed some below.
I thanked God for my family
I thanked God that I still have my father and mother, and my brother and sister. My brother suffers from mental illness, and sometimes he makes noise and disturbs us. So often I have asked God, “Why do I have brother like him?” But I have since realized that my brother has helped me learn to be more patient and more loving. And I am grateful that my brother’s condition is much better than in previous years.
I thanked God for my job
I work as a writer. Every day I write for Indonesian devotionals and also The Upper Room. I thanked God for giving me wisdom and experiences so that I could write devotions that bless others. I also thanked God that I have enough of a salary so that I never lack anything.
I thanked God for my family in Christ
I thanked God for giving me a wonderful family in Christ. My friends there always love and care for me. Last June God entrusted me to be a sponsor (like vice leader) of my fellowship. Even though previously I felt inadequate, later I was excited. I thought, That’s a privilege from God! I prayed to God: “Help me to be a good leader.” I hope my life can be role model for others.
I thanked God for all the blessings God gives me each day.
Every day I feel how God abundantly blesses me. These blessings may not be spectacular for others, but they create a sense of gratitude in my heart. For example, last April my family moved house. We live in a rented house, and I am grateful God helped us find a nice and cheap enough rent home. And I am thankful that God provided us with sufficient money so we could afford the payment.
As I have written in my devotional, previously I liked to complain to God, especially when God’s plan differed from my plan. I asked God, “Why, Lord? Do you not love me?” But as I went through the next days, I realized all God’s plans are always best. Now if I ask God for something in prayer, and God does something else, I have learned not to complain but to believe that I will receive the better.
Together we are entering the year 2020. We don’t know what happen in this year, but we can put our trust in God. Remember, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28, NIV). Instead of worry or fear, let us choose to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. . . excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). Also let us give thanks to God in all circumstances, because God is good and God’s plans are perfect.
While several strategies for reopening the world are being discussed, I encourage you—the people of God everywhere—to allow this season to be a formative one during which you can make new discoveries about God and increase your faith. Use this time to embark on a life of prayer, a life of study, and a life of action—involvement in the community.”