". . . always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name o four Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20
So hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter. Yet, here we are with a joyous focus on giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings we have been afforded. Yes, I love Thanksgiving for all the wonders of the day - the gathering of family, the reminiscing of the goodness of God, and yes, the food and football! This year, though, my thoughts have taken me to people and a world who don't seem to have much to be thankful for.
This past year, albeit gone so quickly, saw many tragedies. Horrible natural disasters from earthquakes, to floods, to fires. Dissension among people. Destructive mass shootings. It is hard to say "Happy Thanksgiving" when we think of all of those horrific events that have taken place during 2017. Alongside of all of those events, we have the despair of our own lives - relationships that have been broken, health concerns, and economic difficulties. So here we are - at Thanksgiving. What is there to be thankful for?
Throughout all of the news footage of those that have been so drastically effected by the areas listed above, I find that there are people who are saying, "Thank you, Jesus." Thank you, really? Thank you for what? As I listen to these folks speak, I am in awe and admiration of their faith. For it is their faith that brings them to the table of thanksgiving in despair. To have that level of faith in God is something I aspire to.
Having faith when things are good, and thanking Jesus for all the good things, seems to make sense. Yet, as our verse for today shares, we are to give thanks to Jesus ALWAYS. Not just when things are great, but when things are tough. What are we supposed to thank Jesus for during despair?
We thank Him for life and for death, as we never know when death occurs what life would have been like for that person. We thank Him for difficulties, as it is our opportunity to get closer to God, in prayer and petition. We thank Him for losing everything, as we know that what we have is truly His anyhow, and He will always provide. We thank Him that through the despair, our faith in Him is truly most important. Thanksgiving in Despair always takes me to Job. Now there was a man with despair. Yet His faith was there, deeply rooted, for all of us to see.
Do you have someone who you know is dealing with difficulty? Maybe you are having tough times? Now is the time, dear brother and sister, to give thanks. Give thanks to God who listens to your prayers and provides you a blanket of love. Give thanks to God who blesses you in small ways each moment of the day. Give thanks to God that He never lets go of you, no matter how bleak - NEVER. During this Thanksgiving, may we give thanks under all circumstances, even in despair.
"Dearest Jesus, help us to remember to give thanksgiving in despair. When life seems so difficult, may we remember your love for us and the way you continue to bless us when life is dark. Help us to go to you, in faith, and know that you have all situations covered. Thank you Jesus, that your love is eternal and your help is forever. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."