Gratitude should come naturally to us, but it doesn’t. We are a most blessed people in our great country, but that does not generally lead us to be as thankful as we ought to be.

We learn this from our earliest years. I do not remember a time, when we took our children for a shot at the doctors or a visit to have their teeth cleaned at the dentist, when they told us “thank you” afterward… even though we took time to take them, drove them to the appointment and paid for it. They didn’t understand anything but the discomfort.

Children generally are not thankful when they have to eat food they don’t like. We force them to eat broccoli (child abuse)… or in the case of my son, fish sticks. These little frozen delicacies or some other bag-to-oven fish meal would not have met with more resistance if it had been a live rattlesnake. He hated fish, and would often engage in a battle of wills with his mother when she served it. It was good for him! But he never thanked us for making him eat fish.

We can find ourselves in the same predicament as children of a gracious Father who brings gifts both delightful to receive or difficult to understand. Yet we owe Him gratitude for the bitter gifts as well as the pleasant ones. Why? He knows best what we need, though sometimes it feels like we’ve been served fish sticks with a side of broccoli.

I don’t know what may be on your plate today. I am learning to say thanks even for bitter providence. I certainly received the “good and perfect” gifts eagerly enough and not often enough with thanksgiving. It’s hard to squeak out a “thanks” with a mouthful of vile weed.

The people of Israel would gather for their Passover meal, served not only sweet dates in a mash, but “bitter herbs” that reminded them of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt and the hardship of the wilderness. Psalms of thanksgiving were spoken whether they enjoyed the sweet… or endured the bitter.

Today I truly hope your thanksgiving celebration is sweet… but whether it is or not, “give thanks to the Lord… for He is good.”



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