The Season of Change
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Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I love the brilliant colors, the sound of dry leaves crunching beneath my feet, and the smell of apples with cinnamon. The air is crisp and cool—a welcomed relief from the sweltering heat of summer.
For me, autumn is full of the promise of change. The challenges of yesterday fall away, and we look forward to a new season. It is a time where our focus shifts to Thanksgiving, and we celebrate what God has done while anticipating what He will do in the new year.
God’s Word tells us to take time be thankful. In Psalm 100—which I memorized every November while in school—reminds us to “enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!” (v.4). But God wasn’t talking about harvest time or an American holiday. I believe He desires something deeper.
God invites us to come to Him with worship and gratitude. It is important enough that it should be the first thing we do when we approach Him. He ordained the temple courts to be filled with worshippers. And when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He began with thanksgiving and praise. I believe He not only wants us to have a spirit of gratitude, He longs for us to express it to Him.
Sometimes, I have to admit, being thankful isn’t the first thing on my mind when I go to prayer. I may rush it or skip over it altogether to get to what I see as the real need. But that is the opposite of what God’s Word tells us to do.
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we should “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God.” That is hard—especially when we are facing difficulties and challenges. God’s will is for us to approach Him with a spirit of gratitude even when we feel pressed on every side, persecuted, abandoned, hated, and desperate for our circumstances to change.
Why? Because God ushers seasons of change through thanksgiving. Expressing our gratitude for Him and what He has done for us opens the door for God to work in us. When we focus on thanking God first, He does something amazing—He shifts our perspective. He reminds us of Who He is. All we have to do is trust Him through our situations.
The book of Psalms is full of desperate pleas for God’s help in the middle of intense life and death struggles. Yet, it is also full of thanksgiving and praise. The two can co-exist—and must, if we are going to walk into the new season God has for us. In the middle of our difficulties, we can be thankful and praise God. And in the middle of our praise, God enters our struggles and guides us through them. It’s that confidence that inspired David to write:
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident … for he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble.” (Psalm 27:3, 5)
David was confident that God would guide him and deliver him from his struggles. That is the confidence I want when I face difficult times.
So no matter what we have faced throughout the year, remember to be thankful. Our season is changing. God is bringing something new. We just need to keep our eyes focused on Him.
Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
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