Thanks Anyhow

Usually if I tell someone, "Thanks anyhow," my sentiment follows an appreciative rejection of what they had planned to do for me or give me.

"No, I can't join you for lunch that day, but thanks anyhow." Smiles all round. Warm fuzzies floating between us.

"Oh, I already have one, but thanks anyhow." How kind of her! That's nice that she thought of me.

I'm rejecting the gift, but expressing my appreciation for the offer, the kindness shown. I turn down the gift, but I'm feeling the love...and it feels good.

Thanks anyhow.

Quite honestly, that is the kind of response I would have liked to offer God recently when He gave me a "gift." You know the kind of gift I'm talking about, right? A gift He handpicked for me, a gift that keeps on giving...and taking, a gift that requires I make a few adjustments in order for it to fit. Plainly speaking, a gift I just did not want, but thanks anyhow.

But God doesn't seem to accept my "thanks anyhow." 

God persists in that sovereign way of His, handing the gift to me and insisting I take it. He assures me that it will time. He insists that it was made with love.

He says it will bring out something beautiful and eternally significant in due time. He keeps telling me that He will even make the necessary adjustments for me...if I'll just trust Him. He even provides glimpses of what the gift will look like in the future, how lovely and stylish it will appear to others who see me with it.

Thanks anyhow.

But He just won't let up.

I will bless the Lord at all times; 
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes in her devotional guide The Quiet Place, "It may feel a bit insincere to give thanks under certain circumstances, perhaps even manipulative. But we counsel and train our hearts by such steps of obedience."

I've found that when I thank God for the gift He's given me--whether it takes the form of discomfort, suffering, challenge, new path, loss, or even pain--He accepts my thanksgiving as a sweet and fragrant offering of sacrifice. He smiles, and His smile, His favor brings warmth and light, peace and strength. In His presence I gain the courage to take the gift from His loving hands, remembering once again that He is always good. Everything He does, He does for a divine and loving purpose.

As I finally take the gift from His hands and begin to unwrap it, there may still be discomfort, hurt, pain, but always there is good. Layer upon layer of glory. Sweet surprises tucked into the corners of the package. Delightful treasures I didn't know existed.

And sure enough, in time He proves to be right. It fits. It's lovely and stylish. It's beautiful beyond all measure. And it is fragranced with love through and through.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Thanks. Period. I trust You. Thank you.

Have you been given a "gift" from God that you did not ask for, one you'd rather He give to someone else, thanks anyhow? Oh, friend, I understand your hesitancy to reach out for that gift and unwrap it. I do. But you can indeed trust Him.

Every good thing bestowed 
and every perfect gift 
is from above, 
coming down for the Father of lights, 
with whom there is no variation, 
or shifting shadow.
James 1:17

If it's from His hand, it's a good gift. Thank Him. And unwrap it. Even if, for now at least, you have to simply, as an act of obedience and self-discipline, say, "Thanks...anyhow."

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

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