It is the season of Thanksgiving. Can we really give thanks for all things? What about tragedy? We lost two people whose life and death affected me in a rather profound way. The first person was a grandma to my great-niece. She was driven to live as long as possible for her granddaughter. Her life was about giving. The other person we lost at a young age to brain cancer. In his last weeks he was able to say two things that went something like this: heaven is amazing and why won’t you let me go home to God.
Both of these lives have given me much to think about and many reasons to give thanks. I have been watching many of my friends post on social media what they are thankful for everyday this month. I have appreciated the thoughtfulness of these posts. But what about these deaths? They are both uniquely tragic. Yet, scripture tells us to give thanks for all things.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In all circumstances? Really? How do you give thanks when a nine-year old loses her primary caregiver? How do you give thanks for a life lost after a lung transplant for cystic fibrosis and then brain cancer? It’s not fair, and yet I’m supposed to give thanks. On one hand I struggle and on the other I trust that God has even this all figured out.
So, I do give thanks. I give thanks for the gift of their lives. I give thanks for dedication to a granddaughter. I give thanks for powerful words and a life that reflects God and His mercy. I give thanks for the gift and power of family. I give thanks for Christ who has gone to prepare a place for us that is amazing. I give thanks that God is present with us in all things including loss and grief. I give thanks for all things for that is God’s will.
How about you? What are you thankful for? Are you thankful for all circumstances? Are you willing to trust that God has it all under control? Are you willing to rejoice during hardships? Start practicing it. Write it down. Start a gratitude journal. See how your heart transforms.
Have a Thanksgiving filled with giving thanks. Leave a comment and share what you are thankful for.