This guest post is from Sandra Peoples. See her full bio at the end of the post.
I love this time of year. I love hopping on Facebook and reading what all my friends are thankful for. I love holding hands with family members around the table and remembering the blessings God has given us. I love putting Colossians 3:17 into practice, “…do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
But sometimes giving thanks is hard.
My middle son has autism. He struggles to communicate. He had digestive and sleeping issues. Can I give thanks in that?
We’ve been in the process of adopting for more than three years. We were recently matched with a little boy in China. But we still have to wait. Wait up to two months for a document to process. Wait until the Chinese government clears us to travel. Can I give thanks in that?
We all have situations in our lives that are difficult right now. Money issues, marriage issues, job issues, family issues. Leakey faucets, broken dryers, a car that needs new tires before it snows. How can we give thanks?
Psalm 50:14 says, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” It’s such a short phrase it’s easy to read over quickly. The psalmist Asaph is admitting that sometimes thanksgiving is a sacrifice. A sacrifice was offering something to God that costs you greatly–your first born lamb, your finest grain, or the best of your produce. And what ever you sacrificed had to be put to death, burned up, cease to exist.
In times when it’s hard to give thanks, we must also sacrifice. I can give thanks for my son’s diagnosis when I sacrifice (put to death) my ideas of “normal” expectations of how he should be. I can continue to give thanks through our adoption process when I sacrifice (put to death) my time line and expectations. I can give thanks when I sacrifice (put to death) the idea that all our money and time actually belong to us, instead of God.
I can offer God sacrifices of thanksgiving because of my situations (not in spite of my situations).
God gives us opportunities to practice what we learn in His Word. This month, as we all share what we’re thankful for, His Word reminds me sometimes there is sacrifice in thanksgiving. The sacrifice doesn’t take away the joy of thanksgiving; it often adds to it.
What situation are you in that you can give thanks in, even though you have to sacrifice something in order to give thanks?