Continuing to grow in the faith in the One who asks the most of us requires continuing to grow in trust, and we do that most effectively by simply giving thanks. But that’s not something we naturally do consistently. The Bible gives the interesting example of Hezekiah – one of ancient Judah’s few righteous kings – who despite his right behavior and relationship with God neglected to give thanks for a healing he received (2 Chronicles 32:24-25). It’s a human failing – we can’t forget a problem when we suffer from it, but we don’t remember the help we receive when the problem is gone. Nothing disappears faster from our minds than problems that are resolved.
Sometimes, too, the feeling that our prayers are unanswered in some area can lead to a feeling of lack of trust, but patience is key in those situations – time will often show the answer was there or was just different from what we expected. In such situations, as is sometimes said: “Don’t look at the things God did not give you that you prayed for, look at the things He gave you that you didn’t even ask for.”
That’s why the apostle Paul admonishes us to give thanks “in all things” (Ephesians 5:20); and it is in consistently doing so that we learn to focus properly and see the help we are already receiving. You can start to do this in any area of life, from the most basic things on up. The old saying “Sometimes the only blessings you need count are your heartbeats” is not a bad place to start. Giving thanks for each day of life and building on that, we begin to see more and more what we are given and how we are helped.
The Book of Psalms shows the relationship between this kind of giving thanks and trust. Psalm 4:5 tells us “Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord." Psalm 50:14 and many others tell us that we are to “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” So offering the “sacrifice” of thanksgiving and trust are directly related, and the more we do this, the more we see the signs of real and loving help in many aspects of our lives. In fact, when we learn to give thanks regularly for all the help we have been given, the question becomes “where shall I start and where shall I stop?” in giving thanks. It is as we recognize help in every aspect of our lives that we give thanks for more and more, and the more we give thanks, the more we learn to trust.