This Thanksgiving I had a realization about the great lack of true gratitude in my life.
I was writing my friend’s speech for her because she had been away in the time leading up to my school’s Thanksgiving feast when it was to be presented. As I was writing I began to think about how in our Thanksgiving speeches or in our “things you’re thankful for” dinner conversations, I really only express gratitude for the things I see as good, not what the Bible tells me is good or the One who is perfectly good.
The Bible talks about how our thoughts as people can never even come close to God’s thoughts, so I see my self-centered way of thankfulness as just that. I see things very limitedly and distorted, yet I choose to go by what I see rather than what God, who sees everything in perfect clarity, tells me He sees.
For example, the book of 2 Corinthians says “But he said to me,’ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This verse coupled with the promise made to us in Romans 8:28 means that one of our greatest delights apart from the very person of God should be the bad stuff, to put it simply. Weaknesses, struggles, persecutions, insults, difficulties, all of these things work out for God’s glory and the good of those who love Him, what a blessing these things are!
But, when we’re sitting around the table and it’s our turns to say what we’re grateful for, I’m not sure that I know anyone who would start listing off everything that’s wrong in their life.
Although, in a way, maybe that’s what we should be doing. Not in a sarcastic way, a “greater than thou” way, or a pity-seeking way, but in a way that humbly walks by faith in God’s eyes rather than in our clouded and distorted vision.
I’m starting to learn that where I see darkness, God sees a place where His light can shine all the brighter; when I am hurting, it’s the refining fire that is changing me to be more like Christ; and, when I feel like nothing good can come out of a situation, God has already promised to do exactly that.
So this Thanksgiving I am going to focus on being thankful for the darkness as well as the light, because I have a Father who’s sovereign over all of it.