So, Are You Thankful or Not?

A song has been rolling around in my head this morning.  That, in and of itself, is not unusual.  Songs are always playing in my mind.  The trick for me is usually getting them out.  Not that they're bad, but that my mind has a tendency to replay a song until I'm almost sick of it.  Enough already!  Unfortunately, the song echoing through my mind this morning is not only annoying because of its repetition, but I also find the song itself bothersome.  It's a song that frustrates me every time I hear it, but because of its catchy tune, my mind refuses to let it go.

I first heard the song about a month ago on the radio.  It started off pretty good, and I thought it would be an encouraging song, but after listening to it straight through, I found myself aggravated rather than blessed.  The message of the song is about thankfulness, and on the surface, it sounds great.  But the lyrics to the verse discuss going through a trial and finding deliverance from it.  Then the chorus proceeds to claim that the person is thankful like Daniel after the lions, thankful like Paul free from the jail, thankful like Noah back on dry ground, thankful like Lazarus finally unbound, etc.  So if you listen to the song carefully, what the writer is saying is that he/she is thankful after the trial is over.  Well, duh!  Who isn't?  I mean, seriously, is there anything really commendable about that?

In my opinion, what the song is lacking is the fact that each of those Bible characters mentioned were thankful in the midst of their trials, not simply when they were over.  Daniel gave praise in the lion's den.  Paul sang songs of worship in the jail.  These men didn't just thank God when it was all over.  Their gratitude remained constant.  Isn't that the message we need to hear?  Shouldn't we be reminded that our gratitude should not be dependent on our circumstances?  That God deserves our praise no matter what we're going through?

Perhaps I'm being too picky about the song, but it really bothers me because I feel it is giving people the wrong idea.  In my mind, it comes across as "praise God when things are going well, and when they're not, whine and cry about it."  It misses the whole point of the stories in the Bible--stories of faithfulness and devotion, despite stormy circumstances.

If you want to sing about thankfulness, then by all means sing, but choose your words carefully, for they may lead others astray.  Are you truly thankful or simply glad that the trial is over?  One is lasting; the other is fleeting.  So which one is it?

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - I Thessalonians 5:18