What do you do when your life is going south? What do you do when it is “THANKSGIVING” and you have just lost a loved one… or just lost your job… or just lost your marriage? Surely you cannot be expected to give thanks… can you?
November ends today and we all know its “Thanksgiving” month. It’s a time to reflect and to consider all the ways we’ve been blessed. It’s a time to give out gratitude to God for our families, our home, our health and our jobs. Ultimately, to count our blessings and hold close the ones we love.
I appreciate that perspective because I think that there is a lot to be said about a heart of gratitude. It’s important to take the time to thank God for all that is good in our life.
But what if giving thanks meant more than just counting our blessings?
What if being thankful meant surrendering our struggles and trials too?
As much as I want to be thankful for all the good God has blessed me with, if I’m completely honest? The last year was one of the hardest years of my life. It’s come with a lot of trials, a lot of tears and a lot of pain but looking back at it now, all I can say is “count it all joy”
Through the hard times, the most profound lesson I’m learning involves redefining of my definition of Thanksgiving. I am challenged to be more than just “thankful.”
I am challenged to do something even more difficult – I’m challenged to trust.
I am proclaiming right now that in times of suffering, a heart of gratitude means more than just saying “thank you.” It means believing that God is who he says he is. Believing that he is good, that he is love, and that he is for me. Believing that he never changes, that he never fails, and that he is working all things for what is good.
Whatever it is you are struggling through right now, may this Thanksgiving be a reminder of God’s everlasting faithfulness for your life.
No matter what it is you are going through: he has brought you this far, and he won’t leave you now.
Whatever it is that is weighing on your heart and burdening your mind, be reminded that though you don’t understand the reason – there is a loving God that does, and he is walking by your side every step of the way. He will never leave you, and he never has.
His plans for your life may include weeping for a moment, but joy will always come in the morning.
No matter what it is that we’re going through, I believe with all of my heart that if we knew what God knows, we would want to be exactly in this time and exactly in this place. As hard as it may be, there is no better nor safer place to be than smack-dab in the middle of his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Because he knows best and there is no plan greater than his plan for our life.
Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect it to, but it turns out just right. I look back at the struggles of my past in light of who I am today, and I see God’s hand and purposes every step of the way. He has brought us this far, and he won’t leave us now.
This is all part of a bigger picture – a picture far more beautiful, lovely, and perfect than we could ever begin to dream of.
It seems so counter-intuitive to rejoice over trials but this Thanksgiving, may you and I be challenged to trust God more, to believe him better, and to know him deeper. His heart is good, his love is pure, his plans are magnificent. Whether we feel it or not, it doesn’t cease to be true.
May you be challenged to be more than thankful this holiday season…as you lay down your pain and problems at his feet–and choose to trust him again. Grace and peace to you, dear one, as you learn to rest in the arms of a loving God.
See you in December…..