Bible Answers: Being thankful despite a messy world

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“Why should I give thanks when the world is in such a mess?”— Dan

It’s true, isn’t it, that we often see only the negative around us?
Little wonder, as mainstream media force-feeds us a constant stream of death and destruction; newspaper columnists spew frothy ad hominem attacks against anyone who has an opposing opinion; and activist worriers of every stripe warn constantly of doom.
Truth be told, the world is in a mess. Importantly, the Bible does not deny the mess exists; rather, it is in essence a declaration that God is doing something about it.
Scripture teaches that God has broken into time and space.
An infinite, holy God has revealed Himself to finite, struggling people in the midst of their human plight — and He offers them life, renewal and hope.
The response of people who experience His grace and forgiveness and love is unfettered thankfulness.
In the Hebrew experience, familiar anthems of praise for God’s protection and provision came from Moses (Ex. 15:1-18), Miriam (Ex. 15:21), Deborah (Judg. 5) and Hannah (I Sam. 2:1-10).
The psalmist, who experienced wide-ranging ups and downs, summed up his response to God with these words, “It is good to give thanks!” (Ps. 92:1).
Giving thanks was habitual for Jesus (e.g., Mt. 15:36; 26:27). For Paul, who endured great persecution and suffering (II Cor. 11:23-33), gratitude came easily (Rom. 1:8; 6:17; I Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; I Thess. 1:2-3).
Early believers, understanding that the world is always in a mess, believed that their only hope was in the unfailing love of God expressed most fully through His Son Jesus (Jn. 3:16).
This is precisely why Christ-followers, even in the most difficult of times, find their way to a grateful heart (Rom. 5:1-5; I Pet. 1:6): such a response arises from the assurance that God has provided a way both to live in this world and to be prepared for the next (Eph. 5:20; I Thess. 5:18).