Faith Means Being Thankful for What You Can’t See

This Thanksgiving, in keeping with family tradition, to grandmother’s house we’ll go. We’ll go over the river and over the woods and over some more rivers and likely through some traffic once we land in Denver. We’ll have plenty of horsepower but no actual horses involved.

While we’re there, as many people do, at some point we might share a bit about what we’re thankful for this holiday season. We’ll probably name some of the obvious and predictable but heartfelt gifts–our families, our health, the ways in which God has provided for our needs. A few of us may mention challenging circumstances we have made our way through over the last year. But it’s unlikely we’ll talk about things we haven’t seen and don’t have.

Yet the truth is, some of the best of what we will ever receive is ours in promise only. As forgiven people, we are blessed beyond measure, even as we live under the limited reign of curse. As people rescued by grace, we are citizens of a kingdom where we do not yet live. As adopted children of God, we are co-heirs to an eternal fortune of pure, unadulterated, unsullied life.

As in nearly every area of life, when it comes to expressing gratitude, we find it so much easier to focus on what we can see, hear, and hold in our hands. It’s easy to assume being thankful means focusing only on what we have received and enjoyed. But “faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). And when thanksgiving meets faith, gratitude extends to the “not yet” territory of the Christian life.

Thanksgiving to God means more than acknowledging where we have been and what has crossed the path of our awareness. It also means being grateful for what we cannot see, have not received, and long for. It means thanking God for what he will do along with what he has done. It means acknowledging God is good when we feel bad and remembering he never stops working wonders in the world, regardless of how limited our vision may be. It means the best part of gratitude is the better half of anticipation.

This Thanksgiving, try to hold both gratitude and longing in your heart and in your prayers. And please know that I am thankful for all my readers.

One last thing: If you’re looking for a great gift for someone who lives in honest longing, consider stuffing a stocking with my book Blessed Are the Unsatisfied: Finding Spiritual Freedom in an Imperfect World.

8 Comments
  1. Francoise says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder, Amy. I am a wealthy woman in Christ, as are all of us who’ve been chosen and awakened by our good Father to see and believe in King Jesus! May you experience more and more the love and warm affection He has for us in Christ. I can’t do without Him!

  2. cindy petranto says:

    Hi Amy,
    Do you know of Christian
    Coaches in the Monroe County/
    Livingston County NY area.

    Thank you

    • Amy says:

      Cindy, I don’t know of a coach specifically in that area. However, I and many other coaches work over the phone with people all over the country. So if you find a coach you like, that person may be happy to work with you regardless of location. If you’re interested in my coaching, you can find information (or contact me by email) here: http://amysimpsoncoaching.com/

  3. Robyn says:

    Hi Amy,

    Great post – a good reminder as we go into this Thanksgiving week.

    I loved the line about “over the river and over the woods, etc.” Such a cute twist!

    ~Robyn

  4. Donna Chicoine says:

    I have been so ashamed of myself with being so negative
    Am struggling with relationship with Christ. No longer think I am a Christian circumstances in my life, self defeating habits and bipolar. Am 62 years old.
    Have given up. Is there any hope?

    • Amy says:

      Donna, there is more hope than you can see. God has not gone anywhere, and there is nothing you can do, think, or feel that will make him stop loving and wanting you. You have never deserved his rescue, no matter how well-behaved you were, and he wants to rescue you anyway. Bipolar disorder cannot separate you from the love of God. Please read Romans 8:31-39. I encourage you to look for support through Fresh Hope for Mental Health (freshhope.us). They offer Christ-centered support for people with mental health challenges, and they were started by a pastor who has bipolar disorder. You may be able to find a group in your area, and they also offer online groups. You are not alone. There is hope, and there are people out there who would love to help you find it. God is with you and will never leave you. You are his precious, beloved child.

© 2018 Amy Simpson.