One thing that we greatly emphasize to our ladies here at Vision of Hope is thankfulness. We encourage them to think on things that they can be thankful for in any given situation, and to compose a thankful list daily. Why do we place this at such high importance?
Reading through the Bible it is easy to see that God places great emphasis on thankfulness. The Bible is full of passages that encourage us to be thankful. The Psalms alone are filled with songs of praise and worship to God (Psalm 150:6, Psalm 92:1, Psalm 9:1-2, Psalm 147:7). We are commanded to be thankful (Colossians 3:17, Philippians 4:6). We are told that it is God’s will that we give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). If God’s Word places such a strong emphasis on giving thanks, so must we!
Thankfulness can greatly aid us in our goal to take our thoughts captive and bring them to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we find ourselves in impossibly challenging situations, we can still choose to be thankful. This helps us to fight self-pity and self-focus. It is so easy for our minds to become consumed with thoughts of anger, despair, or frustration when we are going through a truly challenging trial, but when we
take the time to think of things to be thankful for we begin to fight our tendency to wallow in self-pity and hopelessness. This does not mean that we numb out the hard stuff and pretend that it is not happening or is “not so bad”—God is a God of truth and He wants us to be candid about our struggles and trials—but what it does mean is that we acknowledge that yes, this is a difficult time of pain and suffering, but God is still good and is still working and active in our lives. Focusing on thankfulness can remind us of these things, and can help us to endure hard times, placing our hope and trust in our loving Savior.
So why do we at Vision of Hope place such a strong emphasis on being thankful? Because the Bible does! Knowing that it is God’s will for us to be thankful in ALL circumstances and seeing so many great examples of thankfulness all throughout Scripture should challenge us to grow in thankfulness, being doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).