A friend just emailed to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, and she said this has been a hard week for her family. Her daughter just learned that she had lost her job, and her husband’s mother had passed away, not totally unexpected and yet not expected to be quite this soon.
“Give thanks in all circumstances,” God tells us. We just have to question him on this one, don’t we? How, exactly, in the midst of things like job loss, death, illness, pain and suffering of all kinds . . . just how, Lord, are we supposed to do that? Are you telling us to do something that is just plain impossible? Are you testing us? Do you want us to live in some kind of blind, ignorant denial of the facts that so obviously loom before us? HOW?
And not only how, but why? Why would you tell us to do something that seems paradoxical? That goes completely against everything that we are feeling in the midst of our circumstances?
Knowing that God does not tell us to do things without good reason, I have to think this through. Knowing that God has his children’s best interest at heart, I have to believe that if we can bring ourselves to follow through, we will somehow grow. We will find strength or courage or peace or . . . something.
Finally it dawns on me. If we can somehow bring ourselves to “give thanks in all circumstances,” we have to ask ourselves, “To whom is this gratitude directed?” The very act of giving thanks presumes that there is Someone to thank.
If there really IS Someone . . . Someone listening, Someone caring, Someone guiding . . . then we can have hope. We are not alone.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends, no matter what.
“For you are my hope; O Lord God, you are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence” (Psalm 71:5).