Diary of a Prodigal Daughter: Thankfulness

A window sign that says Grateful thankful and blessed
Credit: Ann in Unsplash.com


by Christine Carter

We often associate thankfulness with a certain time of year. Many people thank God for their many blessings around a table with family and friends, with good food and good company every fall on the 3rd Thursday in November.

We also are apt to say thank you when we receive something good in our lives, or we see God's hand of protection in our lives.

All good things come from heaven, and we are grateful.

But sometimes we also have a complaining spirit, a lot like the Israelites with the manna and the quail. Those provisions came down from heaven, over and over again, to the point where the Israelites grew tired of them, and wanted something better. Aren't we all a little like that?

Day in and day out we have the same roof over our heads, the same bed frame we stub our toe on every morning, the same job with the same supervisor asking for revisions, the same deadlines, and the same expectations day in and day out. The same leaky tire on your vehicle, and the same feeling of ground hog's day that the Israelites felt each day wandering in the wilderness with no end in sight.

But they were God's chosen people, and He never left their side. He had a plan that they did not see or understand, and throughout their time in the wilderness, He always provided for their needs. But instead of continuing to be thankful, they felt that God had abandoned them to wander and the provisions became tiresome.

How often are we like the Israelites, growing impatient and unappreciative of what God has provided for us? Are we really thankful for our wilderness experience? Or have we had enough, and have allowed a complaining spirit to take over our hearts?

A spirit of negativity can permeate our outlook on life, and cause us to be unappreciative, impatient, and ungrateful. This can seep through into each part of our lives, and taint our outlook on everything.

The Bible says to give thanks in all things.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it says this:

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Paul had himself experienced many difficulties, from being shipwrecked to being imprisoned, to struggling with vision problems. Sometimes he had very little. And he continually challenged the Christian churches in his letters and encouraged them to be content and have a thankful spirit. I believe this is because he understood the cost of a complaining spirit, and how it can affect every part of our lives.

We all are familiar with the verse 'I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength", and often use it to support any and every situation in life. But we do not often look at it in the context of why it was written. In Philippians 4 vs. 11-13, we see that Paul was referring to being content in all situations, and how God can give us the strength to do this.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:11-13)

Our lives are lived more easily when we are thankful to God and His provisions for us. Often, like the Israelites, we do things the hard way, because we do not have a thankful spirit. This may cause needless suffering, and cause us to wander in disillusionment or discouragement longer than necessary.

This is not to say that we should endure needless suffering in life if God has provided a way out, but if God has us in a place for a purpose, whether or not we fully understand, it is better to trust him, and to thank him for his care and provision for us, and to see the silver lining of good things that he gives, than to fail to see the good while focusing on what we do not have.

God knows better than we do, and desires us to live in gratitude, and rely on his wisdom and strength in all situations.

Finally, in 1 Timothy 6: 6-10, we are encouraged to be content with what God has given to us. This can save us a lot of heartache and disappointment in this life.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."

About the Author

Christine Carter at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Christine Carter is a working mom of a 12-year-old active son Marquis and has been married to her best friend Brent Carter for almost 15 years.

She attends Bethel: the Church at Philadelphia Mills, where she has been attending for almost 12 years.

She is currently a Quality Assurance Specialist at Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, PA. She resides in Levittown, PA, where she has lived for most of her life.

She is currently attending John Brown University’s online program where she is working on finishing a Psychology Degree which she began at JBU in NW Arkansas in the 1990s. She expects to graduate in May 2021.

She has always enjoyed writing, and poetry has been her method of choice. She believes that if you have a talent or a gift from God, or a desire to be used for His kingdom, He will make a way. You simply need to be willing.

You can read Christine’s Diary of a Prodigal Daughter column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.