This Thursday, most of us will be gathering with friends and family around a Thanksgiving table. I think we’d all like for our Thanksgiving celebration to be a rich time for savoring friendships and family, as well as reflecting on the many evidences of God’s goodness in our lives.
But I know plenty of people who are too exhausted by all the holiday preparations—or too overwhelmed with pain—to enjoy the holiday itself, much less focus on God’s blessings of the past year.
God’s blessings are so numerous and unending that we should be grateful every moment of every day, but it’s all too easy to be so caught up in our routine that we lose sight of all that He has done. Then, when trials come, we wonder if God still loves us, and whether He actually has a plan for our lives.
But my friend, it really is possible to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances,” as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5 . . . even when walking through those “valleys” that we all experience.
Giving thanks in all circumstances can be a hard habit to cultivate. But like all spiritual disciplines, the rewards are well worth the effort: a peaceful heart, overflowing joy, and the ability to face trouble without bitterness or fear.
To help you cultivate a grateful heart, check back tomorrow for several quotes from a powerful devotional by Randy Alcorn called 90 Days of God’s Goodness: Daily Reflections that Shine Light on Personal Darkness. I can’t recommend this devotional highly enough. In fact, leave a comment below praising God for a specific blessing this past year, and we’ll randomly select five of you on November 28 to receive this devotional!
This book has ministered to me deeply this year as I have walked through some turbulent waters. It has helped recalibrate my mind and my emotions, by reminding me of God’s sovereignty, His goodness, and His purposes for allowing trials in our lives. I know you’ll be blessed by the way Randy starts every meditation with Scripture that highlights God’s faithfulness in times of hardship, then illustrates how it applies to our lives today, and ends with a prayer of gratitude.
Randy delves deep into the ways God transforms our suffering to accomplish His ultimate plan. He encourages us to step out of our narrow, day-to-day view and see every struggle from God’s eternal perspective. “What if one day [in Heaven] we discover that God wasted nothing in our lives on Earth?” he asks.
Our trials take on a whole different light when we see them from this perspective. If we let Him, God will use even the most painful circumstances of our lives to help us grow and to draw us closer to Him.
Thank you for doing life with us here on the blog. May your holiday be a true “holy day,” filled with every blessing in Christ.