When feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, I look back with thanks as a means of looking forward with trust. Some days I pray, “God, You have been (fill in the blank: good, kind, faithful, merciful, powerful) in the past, so I trust You will be so again now.” Or “God, You have done (fill in the blank), so I know You can do it again. Help me now.”
Recalling God was good reassures us God is good now and God will be good tomorrow. A track record of trust leads to thankfulness, but it also boosts our faith, so we say, “Do it again.”
Look back in grateful remembrance so you can look forward in confident hope. When has God proven Himself in the past? How has God flexed His muscles to give power when you needed it? In what ways has God been gracious and good to you?
“Look back in grateful remembrance so you can look forward in confident hope.”
Shift your posture and eyes upward to God. You have a list (conscious or not) of challenging circumstances and stresses on your plate. But do you have your list of God’s faithfulness and former deeds? What can you thank God for from today, this week, or this year? Write these things down. Store up memories of God’s works so you have reasons to give thanks, but also so you have reason to trust. It’s hard for distress or anger—or what- ever your struggle is—to find room in a heart full of praise.
Don’t view thanksgiving as something to tack on when things are good or in one month of the year. It’s the means by which we plant our feet in the firm footing of God’s steadfast love in the past so we have traction to walk forward. God remains full of steadfast love, unlimited power, unending wisdom, and inexhaustible grace. You don’t have to push through with gritted teeth, carrying these burdens on your own scrawny spiritual shoulders. Look back and give thanks. Trust God. Believe in Him to do today what He did in the past.
by Dustin Crowe
The apostle Paul instructed the Philippians to be anxious in nothing and thankful in everything. And when he said everything—he meant...
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