The Apostle John spoke from the heart when he said, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). Good health and prospering (especially on the spiritual level) mean a great deal to each one of us.
Wellness, of course, is relative as we age, is it not? At 65 or 85, we do not expect to feel as strong or vibrant as we did at 45. It is just not going to happen. At 45, we realize that we will never be 25 or younger again. We have to accept that we have gone past our peak. However, as long as we are breathing and thinking, our life doesn’t stop — but it certainly changes continually as we age. It is a humbling process that God, in His perfect wisdom, blesses us with.
In regard to prospering spiritually, how can we know if we are or not? The Apostle Paul wrote, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Some choose not to see God as the maker of all that is in heaven above and here below on this earth. They choose not to see Him as their designer/creator, their sustainer in terms of food, clothing and shelter; their protector, their guide in terms of good and evil and their source of strength in good times or bad. They are therefore unthankful to Him for all the benefits that they arrogantly ascribe to themselves. It is inevitable then, that their light will go out — spiritually speaking. Paul also wrote that men would be lovers of themselves in the last days and that they would be unthankful. So, being thankful to God is essential if we are to have a strong connection to our Father and thereby prosper spiritually.
What all, then, should we be thankful for? “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We should be thankful for all the things mentioned above and so much more! You see, God works with and blesses those who have the wisdom and humility to truly live in a thankful state of mind and express it. Consider Christ’s own example. “And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude” (Matthew 15:36). The portion that Christ gave genuine thanks to our Father for was a woefully inadequate amount of food to feed even 40 men, plus women and children. With our Father’s blessing after such thanks was given, 4000 men — plus women and children — couldn’t consume all that came of Christ’s thankfulness.
Thankfulness reaches to every corner of our lives, in every imaginable circumstance, at any age. Again, the Apostle Paul sheds light on the matter. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Everything works to the good for those who love God – those who are thankful for God’s purposeful involvement in their lives from its beginning to its end. Every trial and test that God takes us through will incrementally change us for the better internally. Every time we forgive, show love or bear with each other in hope, we glorify God by changing into His spiritual image. Every ache and pain we experience in old age reminds us that we are the created thing and not the Creator. It focuses our attention on Him, what He is and what we are becoming, despite the aging process. That, in turn, reminds us of the resurrection and great victory to come.
Let’s truly give thanks to our gracious God for ALL things.