"In every thing, give thanks."
As the year 2010 spirals to its end, we approach a particularly special time of year for many of us Americans. It seems like once Halloween is gone, we turn around and are making plans for Christmas! This is by far my most favorite time of year. :)
We have made it through another year with a roof over our head, food on our table, health in our bodies (nothing a little Claritin or Robitussin can't handle, anyway, lol), clothes on our backs (and fronts, lol), gas in our vehicles, paychecks in our bank, and a home for my spirit. I am indeed full. I am indeed blessed.
There are so many people experiencing some source of sorrow and pain this year, however. Some people have lost their homes, too ma-ny have lost their jobs which supported their families, some have lost their only means of getting to work, others have to decide whether to put food on the table or take medicine to help them function~~an inordinate amount of people feel their only choice is to live in pain because they have no insurance. Numerous others have lost loved ones in this world this year. Some of these precious people are fighting demons no one else can see; their symptoms cry out for help. Unfortunately, while many people are contemplating suicide, some have succeeded.
While this season should be a season of joy for most of us, obviously it's a season of pain and sorrow for far too many others. Looking back on our darker hours, I can't tell you how thankful I am for the people who reached out to us and blessed us with things we needed and leads to help us get on our feet. My boys have been blessed with Christmas presents from kind strangers when we could not afford anything for them. I am thankful for some neighbors who dropped off a bag of groceries for us so that we would not go hungry. I am thankful for doctors who had compassion on us and didn't charge us for needful medicines for the boys. I am thankful for my cyber friends who gave me a kind word right when I needed to hear them most. I am sorry to lose my parents-in-law, but God gave us the means, through their deaths, of getting us a wonderful home that we can call our own. I am thankful for my new neighborhood~~it is finally starting to feel like home. I genuinely believe God placed us here~~everything that we've gone through in our darker hours has led us to this place of hope, hope that I readily admit I didn't recognize at first.
"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" Psalm 30:5
This is one of my favorite reminders when I go through difficult times. Life as a Christian does not mean that we have no trouble, that all goes well for us all the time...but our response rests in the hope and trust that God is always, indeed, with us. Jesus said that when we are at our weakest, then is He made strong. Not that Jesus was ever "weak" but Jesus' strength for us becomes more evident in our lives. While we are sometimes authors of our own troubles, our troubles are not always for our benefit, but sometimes for the world to watch us give opportunity to demonstrate our faith. Our faith should be in action. Our faith produces blessings. Those blessings are meant to be shared with others. Our blessings should lift others out of their darkness. Our blessings just might be that seed of faith they need.
Let us remember those who are struggling this year. Let us see if we can help lighten their burdens, if only for a moment. Sometimes that moment is all we need to push through to our breakthrough. Sometimes a bag of groceries is what is needed. Have you looked in your closet lately? Is there something someone else can use now that you're not using? Sometimes a job lead is what will turn their lives around. Sometimes mercy and grace is needed to heal a broken heart. A sympathetic ear and an empathetic heart is the start of a beautiful healing. Let's not forget...a smile and a kind word can be the simplest and yet most priceless offering.
It is not because of the tribulation that we give thanks, it's because of the hope that can be borne out of that tribulation. Tribulation can be what gives you some of the fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22) The time of trouble is indeed sorrowful, but if we can encourage each other to hang in there long enough, the results can be a more powerful faith you never knew you had. That faith is something to celebrate with joy. That joy is what we give thanks for.
"In every thing, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)