This has been a tough week for our Scripture Dig writers – loss and heartache abound, even as we look together at the topic of true gratitude. At times like these we must remember that thanksgiving is not an emotion. Giving thanks with grateful hearts is not something that is segregated to the “good” and easy times in our lives, when everyone is healthy, all our wants and needs are met, and everyone is at peace with one another. Truly, those blessings should inspire a heart of gratitude… but what about when we’re sitting in the ashes of life?
A couple of years ago I wrote this post, part of which still echoes in my head from time to time:
Watching and listening to people this time of year intrigues me. In the celebration of Thanksgiving, we set aside time to thank our Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, our Abba Father for all that He has blessed us with…
Even in our attempts to make this holiday more meaningful, it often seems to ring hollow. Go around the table and say what you are thankful for – “my family,” “my job,” “this house,” whatever. Not that it’s bad to be thankful for these things, but are we truly thankful people? What about the little things? What about the painful things? Are we thankful for those?
I wrote that post the day before Thanksgiving 2008. The next morning we found out that my mother-in-law was dying of cancer – you can read my next post here. Needless to say, that Thanksgiving was not a lighthearted romp through the hay with our handmade turkeys.
These last couple of years have been hard. In many ways that I cannot fully explain, life has been hard. I am tired of death. I am tired of evil. I am tired. Can you relate?
What will be shared at your Thanksgiving table this year? I do hope that you can thank God for health and your family and your job and your house. But what about when we can’t thank God for health because we or those we love are sick and dying? What about when we can’t thank God for our job because we don’t have one? What about when we can’t thank God for our house because it was foreclosed on? What about the painful things? Are we thankful even in the midst of these times?
True gratitude cannot be based on our circumstances. True gratitude must come from a deep rooted understanding of the grace and mercy of God. From seeing that He is all I really want, seeing that He is all I really need after all. From seeing that knowing God is the true treasure.
I am deeply grateful for my family, my house, my church, etc. But if all of those things are burned away and I am left sitting in the ashes, will I be grateful that neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord?
He is good. Even when life is not, He is good.
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