A Special Guest Post by Tara Dickson
I used to think Thanksgiving was a response to a life filled with abundant blessings.
I mean, we often use it to express times of abundance.
On Thanksgiving Day, we have abundant food and we give thanks.
When something good happens to us, we are “so thankful.”
But beloved, what if Thanksgiving is also borne out of a place of need?
3 years ago, I became a widow with four children when my husband moved to Heaven the day before his 47th birthday.
Was it only 14 months earlier that we had heard the words,” Ma’am we found a large mass on his brain.” It was New Year’s Eve and all I could think was, “Everyone else is ringing in their New Year with plans for the next and we had just stepped into the biggest battle of our lives.
The last thing on my mind was to “give thanks.”
But it wasn’t long before I did exactly that.
You see our God always goes before us and he had spent the last 2 years teaching me the “gift of noticing.” He had rewired my brain to actively look for the good things that popped up in my day.
From the smell of coffee brewing in the pot of every morning to the sun glistening off a cardinal’s wing. I had learned to stop, notice and give thanks.
This was the discipline I would need to fix my eyes on Jesus instead of the words that threatened to undo me.
We stepped forward into the battle as he had brain surgery to remove a softball-sized tumor and I gave thanks for a surgeon who dropped a kiss on my head when the post-surgery news was too much too endure.
We pressed on through chemo, radiation, alternative medicine, and finally experimental drug trials and we gave thanks for God’s merciful care. When people met our physical needs, and cared for our children on the daily, we knew God’s grace was sufficient.
And when he finally called Alan home and it felt like our hearts were breaking in two, we gave thanks over his bed with tears of sadness but also joy, that he was getting to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
It comes as no surprise to me that God’s word promises to meet us in the lowest of places and not just the best ones.
Phil 4: 6 implies that when we are feeling anxious we should give thanks.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Col. 3:17 tells us in whatever we are doing we are to give thanks.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him
Finally, in 2Cor. 4- We are encouraged that we carry the gift of “Christ in Us” in vessels of clay
That means we are weak dear ones.
But the weakness we carry, reveals the strength of our God and this results in an overflowing of thankfulness.
Then, when people witness our weakness and our need for God and they see his power being made perfect in our weakness they can’t help but give thanks.
We can rejoice in all circumstances because whether in abundance or need, we have a shepherd that has promised to Not Leave Us, in a state of “want.”
Remember, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want?”
Yes, one of the most well-known Bible passages. But do we truly KNOW it?
I’ve anchored my heart in this verse since my beloved went home because when life feels overwhelming it always leads me back to a state of thanksgiving.
What truth from God’s words is the Spirit whispering in your heart that leads YOU back to a state of thanksgiving?
I challenge you to commit that truth to memory and when life presses in hard, speak that truth to your heart and give thanks anyway.