When I first put this down as my Thanksgiving post title, I didn't realize how appropriate it would be for what our friends have been going through.
Even though our family has been spared the loss of a child, two other pastor's families that we are very close to have not. Today is the first Thanksgiving that both these families will have to celebrate without their beloved boys. The Houston's will not hear the bubbly baby laughter from little Lemuel, and the Simao's won't have their energetic Isaiah asking every five minutes if dinner is ready yet.
It's a sobering thought, and should remind those of us more fortunate to have all our family around us to truly be grateful for another holiday in their presence.
As I watched these two families struggle through the hope that God would work a miracle, the pleading prayers offered up on the boys' behalf, the eventual acceptance that God had a different plan for their precious children, and the grieving process, I was convicted. The Houston's and the Simao's both showed such an amazing testimony of faith and trust that I don't think I could have if I had been in a similar situation.
The truth is, we all need the reminder to be thankful in EVERYTHING.
It's easy for us to thank God when things go the way we want them to. If we happen to pass that one college test we were worried about, or if we get that raise we were hoping for, or when the weather clears so your favorite football team wins, or when you manage to somehow crush that writing goal, praising God is easy.
But what about when things don't go your way? What about when God gives you something you don't want? What about when you fail that test? What about when you lose your job? What about when you lose someone precious to you that you had hoped and prayed would somehow recover?
We want to hold it against God. We feel bitter. We know we shouldn't, so we tell our friends that surely God knew what He was doing and that it will all work out for His glory in the end, but deep down in our sinful souls we're angry. We make all sorts of convincing arguments to ourselves and others that God is in control and knows what is best for us, but at that same time, there's that nagging voice in our heads asking: but why? Why would he do something like that to me? I'm pretty sure I have a better idea of what's good for me, because I really don't see how that terrible thing could possibly have been good.
It's pride. And that pride is what makes it so hard for us to admit that God is right and we are wrong.
God is in control. And His ways are not our ways.
So how do we stay thankful when things are tough? How should we show gratitude when we're in the midst of trials?
~ Give Thanks for the Good Things God HAS Given Us ~
I think this is such an important point. So often I find myself feeling down about everything going wrong in my life when I could be instead showing gratitude for all the amazing things that happen to me on a daily basis.
Why grumble about things you don't control when you can enjoy all the free gifts God gives you with every breath you take?
~ Give Thanks for the Things We Take for Granted ~
~ Give Thanks When You're Put Through Trials ~
~ Give Thanks for the Little Things ~
Anyways, I hope this post made you stop and reevaluate your attitude a little bit. I have to admit, even as I wrote this, I had to consider all the times I've failed to thank God for things. It's hard to remember to be thankful, but I think the more we do it, the easier it becomes. Make sure it never becomes an involuntary kind of reflex, but at least make yourself notice blessings sooner, and start perceiving the trials we face as blessings in disguise.
Throughout this post I've included a few of my favorite songs that went with my theme so well I just had to include them. :) I hope you were encouraged by this post, and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!