Sometimes I’m thankful, no matter what

Published 5:59pm Friday, November 18, 2011

By REV. JAMES SCARBOROUGH

Donalsonville Assembly of God

I admit that there are moments when my mind tries to convince me that life has handed me a bowl filled with sour cherries. In moments of gloominess, when too much focus is placed on the aspects of life that are unpleasant, I have to force myself to reevaluate my circumstances in the light of God’s goodness and control lest I allow myself to wallow in the mire of self pity. But when I reevaluate in that way, without fail, I realize that there are those all around with much worse circumstances than my own. No matter how difficult or unfair life might seem at times, there is always something to be thankful for. For most of us, for every adversity that we encounter that tempts us to complain, there are numerous positive things for which we should be thankful.

A few days ago, while visiting an extremely-ill friend in a critical-care unit, I stood fact-to-face with the painful awareness of how quickly and drastically our plans and expectations in life can be altered. What started out as a time set aside for refreshment and renewal for a couple who has faithfully served in God’s work for decades, suddenly and unexpectedly became a highly questionable future for her. As her heartbroken husband and I conversed together, he acknowledged the severity of her situation, yet at the same time he held firmly to his faith in God. That serves as a rich reminder that even in seasons of physical uncertainty, we can be thankful for the peace, hope and assurance that God makes available to us.

There is no denying that the past year has been a challenging, if not an absolutely difficult, one for many. Most of us have been impacted by the uncertain financial times and other obstacles that have prevailed across the nation. For those who have faithfully served God but have experienced the discomfort and threat that hardships bring, a statement made by the chronicler concerning Hezekiah, one of the God-fearing kings of ancient Judah, might serve as a familiar description today: “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself” (2 Chronicles 32:1, New International Version).

It would have been easy for King Hezekiah to have focused on what appeared to be unfairness: he had been faithful to God and now he was under the severe threat of an aggressive enemy. Nevertheless, he trusted God and saw the defeat of his enemy. What did King Hezekiah have to be thankful for even as his world was under the threat of assault? Among other thing, he had reason to be thankful for the availability and faithfulness of God.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us all remember that we have much to be thankful for. Rather than paying undue attention to what is wrong in life, we will be better off to deliberately search for those things through which we can offer thanksgiving unto God. As we are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, may we all, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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