These are days of turmoil. Turmoil in our world, in our country and in our personal lives. Wars and rumors of wars, moral degeneration and depravity such as many never thought they might witness, and a hatred of God that transcends all of the world’s talk of ‘love’ and ‘tolerance’. People have lost jobs, homes, children, freedoms. Man’s love for himself and deep loathing for Christ has reached a point that, even in America, many Christians wonder how much longer they may be able to speak the name of their Savior without fear. Tumult and unrest seem to dominate, and even define, this time. In the midst of such darkness, for what can we be thankful?
Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise? (Psalm 106:1-2)
The Lord is good. Even in the midst of uncertainty, He is sovereign. He is immutable (Heb. 13:8; Mal. 3:6). He reigns (Heb. 1:8; Rev. 19:6). He is eternal (Heb. 13:8). He is holy (Is. 6:3). He is righteous and just (Ps. 7:11). He is Creator (Gen. 1:1). He is Sustainer (Heb. 1:3). He is Lord (Acts 10:36; 1 Cor. 8:6). For all of these things we are thankful.
These things are true and they are marvelous. Yet there is another great reality for which we remain speechlessly grateful. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior (Luke 2:11; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13; 1 John 4:14). He alone provides salvation from the wrath of a holy God (John 14:6). But we do not remain content to be thankful for this reality alone. If we have been saved by this great Savior, we must pause and offer thanks that, though we were sinners, He chose to save us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)
Further still, we must on our knees thank God for revealing Himself to us. It is only because He chose to disclose Himself that anyone has been saved. Christian, God has shown you great mercy because He has shown you who He is. You did not come to know Him on your own accord. Apart from Him, you never could know Him.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-17)
Here is where mercy begins! In the gracious act of God revealing Himself to lost, condemned sinners. Here is where mercy continues—in the unending compassion of a holy God granting to His enemies repentance and faith in the only One who can truly save (Acts 11:18). Here is where mercy culminates—in the final act of salvation won by Christ’s death on the cross.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15)
When we clasp our hands in prayer, do we thank God for the whole of our salvation? Not just for forgiveness and a clean heart, but for bringing us to a place of brokenness and dismay over our own sin? Do we thank Him for persistently revealing Himself by the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and by His Word (Ps. 19:7ff)? Do we give Him thanks and praise for choosing to make known to us, as He did to Peter, that He is not merely a great prophet and teacher, but the very Son of the living God? It is good to give thanks to the Lord, for without Him we would perish both in this life and the next. In the midst of the turmoil, give thanks.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. (Psalm 92:1-4)