I've got to be honest, I am really looking forward to eating this Thanksgiving. I am one of those “live to eat” and not “eat to live” kind of guys. My thoughts go to dark meat turkey taking a bath in brown gravy, cranberry sauce with ginger and pineapple, and all things pumpkin. However, in the midst of all this gluttony, there is something small in the back of my head that is saying, “don’t forget to be thankful”. That’s right, after all, it is Thanksgiving and it is pretty clear in God’s Word that we are to be thankful people.
As believers we have been given the one thing that we need most, forgiveness. More than food or air or the blood coursing through our veins, we need the forgiveness that can only come from God through His Son. It is this forgiveness that changes everything. His forgiveness changes our standing before God, from enemy to adopted child.
This is “Amazing Grace”. Grace is an undeserved gift, and as recipients of this soul-changing gift, we should be the most thankful people of all. But let me remind you of another great truth, that we are to be thankful in ALL things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. If all things means all things, then that means we need to be thankful in dark times and rainy days. When God allows struggle or pain into your life, are you thankful? When you lose your job, when you have been diagnosed with a sickness that is not seasonal but the new norm, when your child struggles to fit in or is bullied, when the joy of starting a family ends in barrenness, or when the child you have raised in the faith turns his back on God, will you continue to be thankful?
Thankfulness may roll off my tongue when I am handed good things, but I tend to stand silent when God, in His sovereignty, would allow me to experience hurt. Maybe even the holidays themselves are painful reminders of strained or broken relationships, tight finances or unrealized dreams. A favorite verse, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. This means that for those of us who are called His children, our pain means something. God is working through our struggle to bring about His perfect plan and our holiness. He wants more for us than an idyllic home, great job, or perfect kids. He wants our hearts, and through our pain and tears, He draws us to Himself. Do you see where our thanks comes from? We are thankful because He gave His very Son, that we might be in relationship with Him and He has allowed difficulties in our life to grow that relationship. My hope is that in this food-filled weekend, you will pause periodically and give thanks. Give thanks for the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the easy and the difficult.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from the Zoe family!