God reveals Himself to us in our thanksgiving. As we offer sacrifices of praise, continually, from lips and hearts that acknowledge His name (Hebrews 13:15), He opens our hearts to see Him as He is.
Perhaps the most powerful way in which we glorify God is to trust Him and offer thanksgiving for His holiness, goodness and love even in the midst of circumstances, events or attitudes which cast profound doubt upon these very attributes. If my heart is breaking over the brokenness of the world and the lack of hope for things to even slow in their deterioration, if I am staring starkly into the reality that in many ways it does look as though we are on our own in the awful mess we have made, yet turn my heart to thank God for the hope He proclaims in Christ – that thanksgiving is a sacrifice. Thanksgiving when your heart just wants to scream and rant at God is hard.
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!
(Psalm 50:23 ESV)
In such situations simply prattling off some trite thanks for material comforts or a happy family doesn’t cut it. Our hearts rebel at such hypocrisy, and rightly so. Sometimes reality smashes down all veneer of having it all together and we have to admit that things really are bad, there is no point denying it. This, in fact, can be the beginning of true thanksgiving – thanking God for being God.
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
yet I will argue my ways to his face.
(Job 13:15 ESV)
Notice where Job places his hope – in Him, in the very One who is responsible for his suffering! At the end of hope is the beginning of true thanksgiving and trust, the trembling acceptance of our reality and un-done-ness and praising God as He is (Isaiah 6:5). Hoping in Him for who He is – and apart from Him there is nothing (John 1:3).