“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say again rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thanksgiving Day is always a special occasion we set aside each year to show gratitude and thankfulness for all we’ve been blessed with by the Lord. However, the journey to “thanksgiving” is often through the path of difficult trials, hardships, and especially the daily battlefield of the mind. Thanksgiving has a way of cultivating in us a heart of gratitude that sometimes is only reached by means of adversity and circumstances that move us to more desperately seek the Lord. These circumstances provide us with an opportunity to experience a deeper closeness with the Lord and a greater appreciation for who He is and all He has done for us. Paul first instructs us to “Rejoice in the Lord always…” Why? “The Lord is near.” How easy we forget in moments of confusion, disillusionment, or despair that the Lord is near. He is “ever-present” with us in all things, in every situation, every circumstance - He is near, especially to all who call on His name.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” is probably one of the most challenging biblical directives given by the Lord, because by nature we are creatures of “control,” yet there is so much in this life out of our hands. A wise friend once shared we me that this one directive is in itself a life-long process as we grow in our faith in God and His promises. The crossroads between faith and fear, anxiety and peace, is not often an easy one in which to navigate. But Paul gives us some insight into finding the Lord’s peace and having our hearts guarded from the anxiety that can keep our hearts and minds in a perpetual state of chaos. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition (a sincere, specific request), with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Along with the request must come a heart of thanksgiving, recognizing all that God has provided for us in so many ways – past, present, and promises for our future.
Finally, Paul gives us the tremendous promise of simple obedience in “casting our cares on the Lord with thanksgiving,” which comes in the form of a reward: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” In these times of anxiety, despair, or confusion we may feel “less than spiritual,” however, God simply calls us to reach out to him with sincere requests accompanied by thanksgiving, with the promise that He will guard our hearts and our minds through our relationship in Christ, our Savior. We have a heavenly Father who promises to never leave us to walk our journey alone, but rather invites us to “Cast our cares upon Him because He will sustain us.” (Psalm 55:22)
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for the opportunity on this Thanksgiving Day, to honor and praise You for who You are and all the blessings You’ve poured over my life beginning with redeeming me through Your Son Jesus, my Savior. Thank You for the promise of guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus as I faithfully seek You in prayer, making specific requests with thanksgiving. You are a good, good Father who desires to bless Your children as we further surrender our lives to You, inviting You into the daily circumstances of our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.