Thankfulness grows when we see life from the widow’s perspective. There once was an old widow who prayed to God every day. Her neighbor was a skeptic. He despised her devout faith. One day as he strolled by her home he heard her praying, “Dear God, I’m out of food, please provide me with what I need.” Seizing an opportunity to dispel her faith, the man went to the grocery store. He bought three bags of groceries, put them on the old woman’s porch, rang the doorbell and hid behind the bushes. The widow came out and seeing the groceries broke into a cry of thanksgiving. “Oh thank you dear God, I needed this food and you provided.”
Just at that moment, the skeptic jumped from behind the bushes and yelled, “You old fool! God didn’t provide those groceries. I did.” “Oh no you didn’t,” she replied calmly, “God did!” “Did not!” the skeptic shouted back. “Did too!” said the woman. “Did not!” he roared. Back and forth they went until the skeptic played his trump card. He pulled the receipt for the groceries out of his wallet and waved it in front of the woman. “Here’s the receipt you old biddy. What do you think of that?” “Well,” exclaimed the woman, “God provided groceries and even had the devil pick up the bill.”
The widow had a unique sense of perspective. Whether the food was delivered like manna from above or deposited by “the devil” below, she recognized God as the Source who was in control of it all. It is that perspective that helps us maintain the attitude of gratitude Paul encouraged when writing to the Thessalonians.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
The key to a grateful heart is found in the little preposition “in.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.” God never persuades us to thank him “for” everything. He doesn’t say give thanks “for” a flat tire, or “for” tight finances, or “for” a life-threatening illness. But he does encourage us to thank him in the midst of them. We can do that when, like the widow, we recognize that God is in control of every event of our lives.
What challenge are you facing today? Good news! God is right there with you – and He is in control.