Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There are several reasons for this. I love the food that is traditional on Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family and friends and sharing food and fellowship. I also appreciate that Thanksgiving is about being something as opposed to giving and receiving.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and I am amazed and humbled when I think about all I have to be thankful for. Yet this year I can’t help but think of all those suffering around the world because of recent terrorist attacks.
How can we be thankful when so many are suffering?
Suffering is a part of our existance as human beings on this planet.
I believe God is present in suffering just as He is in times of blessing. We often associate thankfulness with circumstances, yet the Bible teaches that God is faithful in all things. Looking back on my life I have seen God’s faithfulness in the midst of times of suffering as well as when He blesses me.
It is not enough to be thankful, we must express our thankfulness to God. He alone is worthy of our gratitude for all that He has done, is doing, and will do to accomplish His will in our families and the world.
I recently read the book Defiant Joy, the Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K.Chesterton by Kevin Belmonte. The book recounts that during a period of utter despair, Chesterton “was filled with both an enormous sense of thankfulness, and an enormous need for someone or something to thank.” (p. 218) This insight caused Chesterton to embrace Christianity. He went on to become a critic and writer that greatly influenced the lives of C.S.Lewis among countless others. “The test of all happiness” he wrote, “is gratitude; and I felt grateful.” (p. 221) The defining quality of his life as described by his contemporaries was JOY. Thankfulness leads to joy.
Last week I saw the following in a store window – “It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy”. How true!
Psalm 145: 3-5
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
Here the Psalmist is saying that one generation must let the next know just how mighty, glorious, and splendid God is! As parents and grandparents this is a challenge and a great opportunity. As we share with our children just how faithful God has been and how much He has done for us as His children, it will remind us of His work in our lives and at the same time, bless our Heavenly Father as we give Him the glory.
As we are thankful this Thanksgiving, let us remember to pray for those thoughout the world who are suffering in loss and fear.
Pray they will experience God’s faithfulness and love in the midst of all they face.