We tend to thank God at meals, maybe as our head lands on the pillow at bedtime, when He provides for us in a desperate moment, and when we’re teaching a child to give thanks. These are all fine and good times. Yet God has so much more for us through our thanksgiving.

Wouldn’t you think that thanksgiving should be all for God? Me, too. However, God loves you and me so much that He even uses things like thanksgiving to help us see Him, know Him, trust Him, and become anchored in Him.

“I will give thanks to You, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds.”

Psalm 9:1

To tell of His deeds, it’s helpful to recognize them. May I make a suggestion? Erase “coincidence” and “lucky” from your perspective of how the hours of the day unfold. Instead, apply this concept—“God is present.”

When we do this, when we open our heart and mind to a much bigger and always-present God, and He shows us His wonderful deeds. Our tendency is to mark moments according to what we see in the natural: “Whew, the rain stopped just in time for the game.” (What a coincidence…Lucky for us!) When we practice awareness that God is present, He helps us see what He wants us to see. Awe stimulates gratitude, and intimacy deepens: Thank You, God, for stopping the rain so they could play the baseball game!

Expressing thanks turns our heart to our Provider.

Thank You, God, for giving her breakthrough with her math.

Thank You, Jesus, for the name of a tutor.

Thank You, Father, that our children didn’t get the stomach bug.

Thank You for showing me how to fix that.

Thank You for prompting me to run by the grocery store.

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!”

Psalm 118:1

Mark God’s goodness—God, open my eyes to see Your goodness all day long. So many things happen in a day, that we take for granted or don’t necessarily consider as coming from God.

When we thank God, we credit Him—not our selves, or coincidence, or luck, or someone else. Each time, God grows our awareness of His nearness. As our thanks increase, our view of God broadens and deepens. He changes our hearts as He increases our wisdom, insight, and understanding.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Colossians 4:2

Thanksgiving places our focus on God. When we thank God in pain, confusion, or even fear, we take a big step of faith toward Him. Our struggle still looms large, but we remember that God is so much larger. We trust His sovereignty. When we thank God, He responds. He comforts and attends our heart with love. He sustains us and supplies exactly what we need.

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” 

Colossians 2:7