Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! And to my international readers, I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
My pastor’s sermon this Sunday really stuck out to me. Instead of the usual “be thankful for all your blessings” sermon we’re used to hearing at Thanksgiving, he pointed out that we need to be thankful for the trials in our lives too. Not so easy, is it?
Job tell us that it is good and right to praise God in the hard times. We read in Job 1:20:
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord
It’s a totally different matter I think to be thankful as well during the trials, though. We can say “This situation really stinks, God, but you’re still awesome and good.” And that’s a really good attitude to have, and one that I’ve struggled to develop (just ask the Facebook friends I’ve lost because I complained too much.) But it’s a lot harder to be thankful when it feels like our world is crashing down on us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Now, we need to be careful about this verse. It’s not saying that it’s God’s will for us to suffer. He knows that we live in a fallen world and that we will suffer, and He uses these trials to teach us life lessons. But it’s not His WILL for us to suffer; He isn’t a cruel God who enjoys watching us struggle. Instead, it’s His will for us to be thankful always. (And also to rejoice always and pray always, if you read the two previous verses.)
How much happier do you think people would be in our stressed, overwhelmed, tired, lonely society if we got in the habit of being thankful always? If instead of dwelling on the negative, we learned to just deal with the trials as they come and choose to be thankful anyways?
I know it’s not easy.
I know that, while I have had some definite trials in life, I haven’t had to deal with the horrible situations that many have had to endure. I haven’t had to bury my children, or gone hungry. I haven’t had to sleep in my car, or on the streets. I can’t imagine some of the pain many have gone through.
I’m young, and I’m still learning. I don’t even know how much I don’t know about a lot of things. I do know that, just because some people may be worse off than others, doesn’t mean that the hurts and trials of the one with the “easier” life are any less significant. And I also know that God’s word applies to all of us, and if we depend on God’s love and grace, all things are possible; even a thankful heart in the worst of situations.