Giving Thanks In Dificult Seasons
Right now it seems like the whole world is spinning out of control. Almost every day we hear a new report that shatters our hearts. Our television and computer screens are filled with images of devastation and despair.
And it’s not just the outside world that’s falling apart. Many of us are experiencing things that have our lives turned upside down.
Maybe it’s a doctors report that wasn’t what we’d hoped. Or a bill that’s come due and you don’t know how to pay. Maybe you didn’t do as well on that test as you expected. Or you feel like all of your friends have turned on you. It might be that you’re watching a marriage fall apart.
The difficult seasons will always be with us. As long as we walk this earth times of trial will always follow us. There will always be days that make us feel like there is nothing to be thankful for.
But we’re not supposed to listen to our feelings. They lie to us all the time. And the devil lies too. He likes it when Christians feel depressed and defeated.
But even as we throw up our hands and say, “come lord Jesus,” there is always something to be thankful for.
The very air we breathe, every step we take, and the faces of our loved ones are all miracles.
Whatever we have it’s more than we deserve. We deserve death and hell, but we have eternal life through the blood of Christ.
The greatest miracle of all is our salvation. If we have nothing else to be thankful for, we should always be thankful God for the grace that led His Only Begotten Son to the cross.
As Christians, though, we’re not only supposed to be thankful when things are going our way. It’s not just the good things that God calls us to be thankful for.
We’re to be thankful for everything.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Yes, that means the bad stuff too.
There was a man in my parent’s church who would say, “Praise the Lord,” about literally everything. Leaky pipes? “Praise the Lord!” Dead car battery, “Praise the Lord!”
When we’re down and discouraged, and we feel like we have nothing to be thankful for, the devil will come and tell us to listen to those feelings. But we can stop those feelings in their tracks if we simply tell God how good He is.
When David was discouraged, he did just that.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
God is always worthy of praise no matter what comes our way.
Besides that, every situation and circumstance is an opportunity to let others see Christ in us. Every trial we go through is an opportunity to serve God in a new way. More still, it’s an opportunity for God to do a work in us.
The past few years have been a difficult season for us. But even through the difficulty we’ve seen God work in ways that we never would have noticed or appreciated before.
While I still don’t know if I can say that I’m thankful that this season has come, I am thankful for the lessons I’m learning along the way.
One of those lessons has been simply to be more thankful.
I’m more thankful for quiet moments with my husband, and time with my children. I’m thankful for normal days. I’m thankful for every day, even the bad ones, because there’s hope and opportunity in every day.
The more I see the news from around the world, the more I feel compelled to embrace a season of thankfulness.
While I’m seeing my newsfeed fill up with images of Christmas trees and stockings, I’m holding off hauling out the holly for just a few more days.
Cause I think we need a little Thanksgiving. We need to remember to be thankful for that Savior we’re preparing to celebrate. Any true celebration begins with a heart of thankfulness. So I’m choosing to view this Thanksgiving as an introduction to Christmas. The set up if you will.
I’m realizing that the key to focusing our hearts on Christ at Christmas might just be to focus on thankfulness at Thanksgiving.