Yes, it’s that time of year again. Cornucopias overflowing with harvest treasures serve as centerpieces, little handprints serve as turkey bodies in preschool artwork, and everyone is thinking, “How much food should I cook this year?”
When Thanksgiving rolls around, we think about, well, giving thanks. We often reflect on the past year, and focus on the good things that have been present in our lives. We are grateful for our families, maybe for a new job, or even just happy to have the day off from work.
My boss shared a story with me that turned my Thanksgiving thinking upside down. While a woman named Elaine sat in church one day, she felt that God was telling her, “Thank me for saving your father.” She was confused, since her dad was not a saved man. But again, she felt that God was asking her to praise Him for saving her father. It was a big step, because Elaine had a very strained relationship with her dad.
Eventually, Elaine just decided to step out in faith and do what God asked. So she praised God for saving her father. But he wasn’t saved that night. Or that week, or that month. But that man was eventually saved, a short time before his death. And his daughter Elaine, the one who had praised God, was the very one God used to lead him to salvation.
My boss’s own daughter Kristy was actively seeking a job in a new town, and trying valiantly to stay positive after several months of unemployment. My boss was praying hard for a job for her oldest child. Kristy reminded her mom of Elaine’s story, and decided to thank God in advance, for the job He would provide for her.
Within days, Kristy had a call from a company she had applied to, asking for an interview. The job description read as if had been written just for her. She met all the criteria. The benefits included tuition reimbursement. (Graduate school is what had prompted this move in the first place!) And one of the people who would be interviewing her? It was none other a previous employer, from a huge city, eight hours away.
I am glad to report that she is now working at that job, as a testimony to God’s grace.
What it boils down to is exactly what Hebrews 11 describes: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Thanking God in advance is saying to Him, “I know that You are going to provide this. I know that You will answer this prayer. I know that You will make a way.” Elaine took a step in faith. Donna did, as well. Praising God before we get blessed is living by faith. Isn’t that what God wants for us?
So, let’s put a different spin on Thanksgiving this year. Instead of just being thankful for things in the past, let’s praise God for the blessings yet to come!