Today is Thanksgiving day in the United States. This morning, I had a chance to take a quiet walk and reflect on everything I am thankful for. As I reflected on my family, friends, and the evident aspects of my life for which I’m thankful, I realize that I have nothing for which I am not thankful.
Does that mean everything is perfect or painfree? Absolutely not! Life is full of stress, struggle and suffering. But as I think about those trials and pains, both past and present, I’m aware that even in the difficult times there is much to be thankful.
Am I thankful for the loss or absence of loved ones in my life? By no means! But I am thankful for the shared life and deep love we have that makes their absence so deeply felt.
Am I thankful for the times of financial struggles my family experienced when we were young? Not really. But I am thankful for how our family was saturated in God‘s faithfulness and how the reality of his constant presence and care formed all of us.
Am I thankful for the stress and dysfunction of my workplace? Not at all. But I am thankful for the relationships there as well as how God has used this job to care for my maturing family.
And the list could go on…
In 1Thessalonians 5, Saint Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I’m not sure if my reflections do his words justice. But I am reminded that even in the darkest times, I can give genuine, heartfelt thanks to him.
I know I don’t experience intense suffering like others throughout the world. Nor do I have severe chronic illness or pain that many experience. So I’m in no way trying to give simplistic advice or answers for those who are in dark places that I can only imagine. But from my limited experience I continue to see God‘s constant care, unending faithfulness, and abounding love in all things. And for that I am thankful.