Thankfulness in the Thick of It
Originally published at Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today on November 23, 2022
“Though the fig tree does not blossom And there is no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive fails And the fields produce no food … Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in LORD; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (AMP)
When I lost my job last spring, I had peace that God would provide. But as weeks rolled into months, cents rolled into dollars, and worry and doubt crept in.
I’m used to God working when all seems lost and impossible, so I was ashamed at my faltering faith. But trusting God for His provision doesn’t come naturally. Doubt and worry? Easy. Like a dog with a bone, I chew down my worry and choke on the splinters.
If God has always provided, why am I doubting?
I wonder if that’s how Jesus' disciples felt when He said He was going to feed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. (John 6:1-15) They couldn’t see how. They may have believed He could feed them, but all they saw was the one little lunch and one very big crowd. Philip exclaimed, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7, NIV). It didn’t add up.
I think the same about my situation. With bills in one hand and an empty bank account in the other, it doesn’t add up. I’ve seen Jesus do miracles in my life before, and I know He can do it again. But I cannot see how.
It must have been strange to watch Jesus give thanks for the way-too-small amount of bread as if it could actually fill all those stomachs. (John 6:11) I used to move right past the “giving thanks” part of this Bible story because it seems typical to give thanks before a meal. But that's when there is plenty of food. Jesus gave thanks for the not-enough, trusting God, the Provider, to turn it into more than enough — 12 baskets of leftovers, in fact. (John 6:13)
He gave thanks before the miracle.
Thanksgiving is an expression of joy, not because of what God provides but because He is the Provider. Our joy comes not from what we have but from who He is, and giving thanks opens our eyes to see more of Him.
The prophet Habukkuk also struggled to see God’s provision in his life. He argued with God, complained and wrestled things through with Him. Finally, he surrendered and said:
“Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food … Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the LORD; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Giving thanks is not reactive but proactive. Habakkuk chose to rejoice. He chose to give thanks when there was nothing, trusting God for the something. Like Jesus, he knew the Provider of all things. While he couldn't see the how, he saw the who.
Do you have a “not-enough” situation in your life?
The rent is due, but your car broke down.
You feel trapped in a dead-end job or dead-end relationship.
Your child struggles in school, but you don’t know how to help.
Will you join me in thanking God for the not-enough moments and seeing them as opportunities for Him to give more than enough? Thanking God in all circumstances for what we can see opens our eyes to what we otherwise cannot see. It ushers in God’s peace (Philippians 4:4) and emboldens us with His strength to persevere. (Nehemiah 8:10)
After all, if the situation were solvable without Him, we would miss the moment He will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
Thank You, Lord, for the not-enough moments You use to strengthen my faith. May I learn to be ever grateful, choosing to rejoice even when I cannot see how You're working, knowing You will do immeasurably more than I could ask.