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Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Thanksgiving Challenge


This year I’d like to do just a small challenge relating to Thanksgiving, which is on the 28th of November this year.  (It was on Oct. 14th in Canada, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t think of it earlier.)

We have many, many blessings to be thankful for in life, it is true.  I have no problem with people who are posting something they are thankful for each day on various social medias.  I think it’s a good idea.  The scripture clearly teaches us to Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Psalms 103:2 

However, this year we have been through some difficult experiences.  The two biggest from my perspective are that my mom had major surgery in January and we undertook a trip to Australia in Sept./Oct.  These were both difficult things.  As some of you know, I’ve had trouble with anxiety and also some physical limitations.  The fact I was even able to get on a large jet for some 15 hours and fly thousands of miles over water with a whole lot of other people at close quarters is nothing short of a miracle to me.  Five years ago it would have been impossible.  My husband and I have been through some other situations in addition to these this year that have been difficult to deal with in various ways.  As much as I disliked all these situations and some of the things we had to deal with, I am truly blessed to see how the Lord has used those things to draw us closer together and to show me things in my husband that I respect and appreciate.  I am also humbled to see what He has done for me.

Having these thoughts on my mind maybe it was not surprising that the Lord would point me in the direction of challenging us to thank the Lord this year particularly for the hard things – the hard things we’ve had to deal with this year that have grown us, made us wiser, given us a better perspective and more compassion, brought us better relationships, and made us lean more on the Lord.

Nothing is wasted with God.  If He allowed it, He can and will use it in some way to improve us for His purpose – if we love Him. Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I don’t believe that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  That is not true as a general statement, and I’m not talking about that kind of cavalier attitude.  Just ask anyone who has burned out their brains with drugs or alcohol or destroyed their lungs with tobacco. Or ask someone who has suffered permanent health problems from an accident or illness.  Many things that don’t kill you outright will indeed weaken you.  So here I’m talking about being thankful for those things beyond our control that are the result of circumstance (for lack of a better word) or the result of other people’s choices.  I don’t really see consequences for sin as a matter of praise, except in as much as His chastening reminds us we are truly God’s children (Heb. 12:8).

I have shared in a general way some of the things I’m thankful for.  How about you?  Can you see the hand of God in some difficult situation that you’ve been through this year?  Can you thank Him for allowing that situation or event so that you could sustain the results of growth that He has given?

Hebrews 13:15-16  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Lord willing, I’ll post some more things for consideration on this subject over the next few weeks.

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