Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving: A Convicting Conversation

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Today is Thanksgiving.

Soon my family and I will be getting in the car and driving to Eaton Rapids to celebrate with our extended family, and it's going to be a lot of fun!

As with any Thanksgiving season, there is always a lot of talk about being grateful. And the other day a friend said, "I have been so blessed just to stop and think through each month of this year and think about how many ways the Lord has really blessed me."

My sister Cam and I.... We always look like this
I later found myself pondering her words; it had been quite a year. And instead of thinking, "I totally agree! There's so much to be thankful for!" I seemed to be complaining. My mind drifted over the difficult things of the year, and I was very convicted as the Lord brought my heart attitude to the surface. I had been telling myself most of the year "I just have to get through this situation and put this year behind me, then I'll be fine." There had definitely been a lot of hurt; things happened in my life in 2016 that I would never wish upon anyone else's life. But if I can take a moment to look beyond the hurt and pain of the moment, and look above to see all the ways He caused this rough situation to be used for my good and His glory, my perspective can be totally different. There has been more growth in this season than any other in my life; that is a blessing. I was totally stripped of my self-sufficiency, and learned in a new way to run to Jesus; that is a huge blessing. I learned a ton about trusting (loved ones, others, Jesus); this is a needed lesson, and therefore it's a blessing. And there are many other things I could name. He's so faithful!

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has a great thought on being grateful:

“Perhaps it’s hard to find much to be thankful for today. Perhaps all you can see is what’s wrong, what hurts, and what other’s are doing to you. But look above your circumstances, beyond your fears, and ask God to show you what He’s doing in the midst of them… The choice is before us: do we only give glory to God for the part of our lives that’s going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, and give Him thanks, just because He is God--regardless of the painful, incomprehensible places we encounter in our journey?”

No matter how hard things may seem, He is always filling our lives with blessings. Even if everything actually does go wrong, we always have Jesus. And that is the biggest blessing we could ever imagine.

I'm loving this Psalm this morning:

"I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exalt in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Selah

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah."
(Psalm 9 ESV).

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