By Mark Kreitzer
Faculty, College of Theology
God brought each of us into the world by His gracious plan and power, gave us specific gifts along with the assurance that He has numbered our days and designed them with purpose (Psalms 139).
Yet, in the midst of blessings, we often struggle with thankfulness. Finances become tight, relationships fall apart and conflict arises where we hoped for peace. Pain enters through portals we carefully crafted for protection, and instead of thanking God, we grumble. We see others whose lives seem virtually carefree. We wonder why God has left us here in our frustrating circumstances as we complain about His “great” plan for our lives.
How can we give thanks when life is just not going the way we expected?
Paul often spoke about thankfulness. Though, from a human perspective, he seemed to have the least to be thankful for: shipwrecked, stoned, often hungry and without sleep, and forced to labor in constant danger (2 Corinthians 11:25-27). Paul’s is a bio sketch we wouldn’t want to put on our LinkedIn profile.
Hard pressed, but not abandoned. Struck down, but not destroyed. How could someone who suffered so intensely continue to give thanks?
Yet, he thanked God in everything (Philippians 4:6, Ephesians 5:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:18), for all the believers (1 Thessalonians 1:2, Ephesians 1:16) and for God’s victory and our triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14, Colossians 2:15). He was able to do this because he remembered that God is always good, His grace is sufficient and His gifts are all we need.
We also can meditate on who God is, the awesomeness of His grace and the beauty of His gifts so that we can experience thankfulness at all times, in everything and for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially during this Thanksgiving season.
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Grand Canyon University’s faculty and staff are writing about their blessings this Thanksgiving. Learn more about our university, colleges, degree programs and more by contacting us today.
More about Mark:
Mark Kreitzer, DMiss, PhD, was born in Denver, CO but grew up in Southern California, where he attended Biola University (BA) and Talbot Theological Seminary (MDiv). He received a Doctor of Missiology and a PhD in theology of mission/intercultural studies at Reformed Theological Seminary (1997, 2002). He is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and is a member in good standing in the Western Carolina Presbytery. He is married to Nancy, and they have three children, Mark Aaron Robert (31), Caroline Elise (20) and Sarah Anne (18). Dr. Kreitzer loves running, hiking, exploring new places and collecting books.