When I bow my head in gratitude on Thursday, I’ll be thanking God for:
My husband’s job loss reminded us that our jobs are not our provider, God is. We tend to equate money with security, but unemployment reminded us we are most secure in the center of God’s hand. I’m thankful for the lessons he taught us about his love and care.
The needs that accompanied his loss of income showed me God’s unlimited ability to provide for his children. “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory,” he promises, and it is true. I’m thankful to have new stories of God’s faithfulness to add to our faith heritage and share with others.
Family members’ illnesses reminded me how God holds our lives in his hands and every breath is a gift from him. I’m thankful for Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals.
Months of bone-dry days and scorching heat remind me not to take simple things, like rain, for granted. Drought teaches me how truly dependent we are on God’s mercy and provision. “He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside” (Job. 5:10). I’m thankful for rain that waters our land, sunshine that makes plants grow, and seasons that testify of God’s faithfulness.
The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I’ve learned, if God doesn’t open a door, I don’t want to force it. As Jennifer Kennedy Dean writes in her book, Live a Praying Life, “If God has the power to change your circumstances right now, and if God loves you and wants your highest good, and if the circumstances are still in place, then what is your conclusion, based on truth?” I’m thankful I can trust God to know what’s best for my good and his glory.
The ache of missing loved ones reminds me of the sweetness of heaven. It makes me homesick for the day we’ll all be together. I’m thankful “we sorrow not as those who have no hope,” (1 Thes. 4:13).
Delayed answers to prayer
Having to pray persistently, fervently, and faithfully because answers are slow in coming has grown my character and my faith. It has strengthened my spiritual muscles. I’m thankful for the promise, “They who sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5).
The convicting voice of the Holy Spirit
You know the voice. The One that keeps you awake at night, troubles your thoughts, and reminds you of what is right. The same one that won’t let you sin and get away with it, even if no one sees you. The one that nibbles you like a duck until you cry for mercy and do whatever it takes to make it right. I’m thankful for the still, small voice of conviction, because it proves I am God’s child.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving, I’d like to encourage you to look past the obvious. Look closely at the parts of your life that are bad, sad, and hard. Perhaps you’ll discover, when you peel back the layers, that these trials are some of the greatest blessings of all.