And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 2 Timothy 1:10-12
It is Thanksgiving Day and I’m curious how much grateful you are this day. Well probably your gratefulness is based on how much less of circumstances you have than others. We feel that it is easier to be thankful when everyone in the family is healthy, material needs are met, there’s no bickering among relatives, job is doing fine, and aches and pain in our bodies are minimal. If these are our reasons for being grateful, later on we will realize that our thankfulness is superficial. Real thanksgiving or God’s way of thanksgiving is not dependent on how well we are doing in life for it is based on God’s providence. The apostle Paul when he wrote his second letter to Timothy knew that his death is fast approaching. He was in prison when he wrote to Timothy because he was charged of continually proclaiming the message of salvation. In the face of imprisonment and impending death, he told Timothy that he is not ashamed for he is sure that when he made the confession to make Christ as His Lord and Savior that God is the source of his confidence. He may not know what a day or two might bring but all he knew was that no matter what comes his eternity is sure for it is guarded by God until the day of His return. This is also the reason why Paul gave this admonition; "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The first thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims the following year they arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts. It was September 6, 1620 when the pilgrims seeking religious liberty sailed from England bound to find their new world. Little did they know how harsh the travel and the weather would be. Almost half of those that left died before spring came. On December 13, 1621 they declared a three-day celebration together with their Native American friends to express their gratefulness to God in spite of their circumstances. I know it is tough to be grateful when things in life seemed to be not working well yet to have the knowledge that if I have trusted my life to Christ I know that no matter what comes my way I am secured in His hands. And for that, I am thankful! In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal, there was a section of reflections after the tragic death of his young son where he wrote, “All that I have seen teaches me to trust God for all that I have not seen." When you know who is the Source of your confidence in life and you believe in Him with all your heart you will always be thankful no matter what life brings to you.