By Not Known
Many possibilities associate themselves with the exclamation – “Thank God!” From simply a self-congratulatory relief to a heartfelt gratitude to God, this phrase has by and large lost what its words literally mean – Thank You, God!
“We always thank God… when we pray for you…” (Col 1:3). The faith of the Colossian Christians in Jesus and their authentic love for fellow believers are reasons for Paul’s thanksgiving. But they are what they have become only because God himself has first worked his gospel in them, and he continues to do so. Their faith-fruits are foremost signposts to God, testimonies to his grace-at-work, and tributes to his faithfulness. Therefore, to ‘thank’ God is essentially to ‘think’ of God by remembering his word and work in our lives and the life of the church.
To think of God in thanksgiving is essentially to meditate on his glory, his holiness, and his character. This is where many of our so-called thanksgivings fall short because they are but for our trivial pursuits that neither glorify God, nor hallow his name, nor reflect his character. Such thanksgivings are often based on a very human sense of what is good. Consequently, any real misfortune can directly challenge one’s relationship with God since to think of God apart from his grace, mercy and love may well lead to disappointment with him. So is there a place for thinking of and thanking God where life as individual and as a church hurts?
While we cannot thank God for situations that hurt, we certainly can think of God in those situations. The imprisoned Paul often thinks of God in his seemingly hopeless situation and ends up thanking him for his grace, mercy and love. The fact that situations in our lives may change but God does not change should encourage us to find solace and confidence in him alone. It is in him that thanksgiving remains possible whatever befalls us.
We cannot always thank God for a situation, but we certainly can thank God in every situation because nothing is beyond his control and that he cares. Let God return to his rightful place at the heart of all our thanksgivings. Let’s thank God. Literally!