I’m pausing my “following Jesus’ footsteps” series to repost this for Thanksgiving. It’s during this time of year that most of us take inventory of all the things we have to be grateful for: freedom, family, friends, a roof over our heads, clothes, food, health, a job. The list is endless. God has been good to us. We are a blessed nation. And most of us God lovers are greatly blessed individually, as well. But what would happen if we lost one of the above? Would we still be grateful? Still have an attitude of gratitude? Still believe we had the favor of God?
“Americans don’t know how to do poor.” That’s what one Peruvian woman I’m acquainted with said who grew up in a 10 x10 dirt floor house with eight other siblings. I think for the most part she’s right. I’ve spent a good deal of time listening to people who have traveled to places where entire populations had little freedom, clothing, food, shelter, or health. We take so much for granted. And we Christians in the U.S. often take God for granted, too. We equate prosperity with our reward from God, our due. If we do all the “right” things, then God will bless us. But what if the blessings should stop? Does that mean God no longer favors us?
It’s true that sometimes God’s judgment comes in the form of hardship, depravation, suffering. What’s not true is that hardship, depravation and suffering always means God’s judgment. Sometimes God allows hard times to come our way even when we are doing everything “right”. Why? Because He loves us. Because He wants to forge our character, to train us, to bring us into a deeper place with Him. Think back. Wasn’t it during those tough times that you learned the most? Grew the most as a person?
Some of us are facing tough times now. Many others will probably face them before too long. A portion of these problems might be self inflicted. If they are we can learn from them as well. But others are inflicted upon us. No matter the cause, we can learn and grow. And if we have an attitude of gratitude, if we trust God to see us through, we can end up on the other side better than when we began.
As we near the end of a difficult year and look forward to an uncertain future, let us keep our eyes on the Lord, the One who is our refuge and strength in times of trouble. And let us be certain to count our blessings and maintain that all important attitude of gratitude.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15
Wishing everyone a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.
Until next time,