Here’s a challenge for this Thanksgiving week. Ask God to help you to be thankful for things that you haven’t felt thankful about in the past.
“I will praise the Lord all my life” (Psalm 146:2).
I have a pastor friend who lives in a country that is not kind to Christians. He and God’s people there can’t build a church or even sometimes meet with each other because of government pressure and persecution.
But he can still thank God.
And here in America, divided as we are, drifting from the truth of Scripture and a Christian majority, we can thank God, too.
Here’s why. The gospel of Jesus Christ and our freedom from sin, death and the devil is so much more powerful than any other freedoms, or constraints, or cultural threats to Christianity. Our God remains faithful, with or without government support.
Psalm 146 states what his saving work looks like.
Are your Christian beliefs oppressed? The Lord “upholds the cause of the oppressed.”
Are you unemployed or otherwise unable to afford life’s necessities? The Lord “gives food to the hungry.”
Are you being unjustly abused or controlled? “The Lord sets prisoners free.”
Do you live with a disability or disease? “Lord gives sight to the blind.”
Do you purposefully practice humility and grace that is underappreciated by the proud and powerful? “The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.”
Do you commit to Christian principles in your home even when it’s difficult? “The Lord loves the righteous.”
Are you from an immigrant family that struggles to fit in? “The Lord watches over the foreigner.”
Have your parents or spouse died? The Lord “sustains the fatherless and the widow.”
Does the influence of non-Christian education, entertainment and expectations feel like it’s winning the battle for the hearts and minds of your family? The Lord “frustrates the ways of the wicked.”
Some of these blessings may come through government, while some may not—it’s all up to our Lord God. “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Psalm 146:3).
Don’t be surprised when government or culture suppress Christianity. Be thankful when they do support Christianity. And put your hope in God, who saves you without any government help, yet he can and does use government as his servant when he wishes.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for the religious freedom we enjoy in America. Teach me to treasure it more, to pass it on to the next generation, and to see more blessings this Thanksgiving than I have ever before. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Psalm 146. What is something that you have hoped to receive from the government, but God promises he will provide?