Faith believes God’s Word is true and the ultimate act of faith is giving thanks to God for what was promised even before we have received it. In the world system we are taught to give thanks when we receive something from someone, whether it is a complement, help or a gift. We are trained to wait and sometimes anxiously in anticipation until we obtain the promise and then express our thanksgiving.
In God’s kingdom, in the realm of His people, we are instructed to give thanks when we receive the promise of God. Thus displaying with the very act of thanksgiving, the certainty of our belief and faith that we have what was promised. Though we may not have received it in this natural state yet and though it has not arrived in our possession, we believe God has answered our prayer and that it is coming so we give God glory with thanksgiving for what we have asked.
John 11: 41b-42 And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
Jesus started His prayer with giving God thanks for having heard His prayer before and for always hearing Him. Jesus was praying again not a prayer of vain repetition of saying the same thing over and over but a prayer for the benefit of the people so they would believe. Though Lazarus was still dead at that moment Jesus thanked God for hearing Him knowing God would perform His promise. Many may say Jesus is the Son of God and could do anything and that is right but Jesus limited Himself as a man operating under the knowledge of God’s truth and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same things we as sons of God have access to, God’s truth and the Holy Spirit.
We can truly give thanks in everything when we see everything in the light of God’s word, truth and promises. He will never leave us or forsake us and in every problem or trial God has provided a way of escape that will be for our good and bring Him glory. If we truly believe this and trust God we can give thanks in hard situations by the power of the Holy Spirit with expectation to see how the Lord will settle the issue. Not to say things we are experiencing are not hard, difficult and possibly overwhelming at the moment, but giving thanks to God in the midst of our hardship helps move us from self-focus and self-serving to faith in the hope God will do a great thing in this situation.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
It did not say it was joy when we go through life struggles and trials but we can consider and reckon it to be part of a larger process that in the end will produce faith and patience in our lives which is pleasing to God. When we are able to remove our self from the equation, our wants, our desires, our preferences, then it is easier to let go of the pain and wait on the greater good and glory of God. It is when we hold on to our desire to enjoy and be with what we have lost, that we cannot free ourselves to enjoy the present and be full of hope for our future.
When we put self on the throne of our lives, problems are hard to overcome because our needs, yearnings and cravings become so magnified that we lose sight of the things God is doing in our lives. It is only when God is seated on the throne of our lives, high and lifted up that He is exalted above all else and is magnified larger than our painful situation. It is then we are able to press through the pain and difficulties and walk in expectation, waiting to see the glory of the Lord to come as a result of that condition.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We know these situations did not take God by surprise and what we are going through is the will of God for us at the moment. More importantly how we act and display our faith in God in the midst of those circumstances will testify who God is in our lives.
Gratitude is giving thanks to God for what we have received. Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God for what we want to receive in our future. This is a true display of our faith. Faith believes God has heard our request though it is not seen it in the natural God has made provision for it spiritually and we can wait with expectation for it to manifest itself in the present. We believe our request has transpired in the spiritual kingdom of God and we are now waiting to see how the Lord will settle the matter in the physical realm.