This is going to be my first thanksgiving with my own family meaning my wife and step-daughter. Because of that we’ve been talking a lot about family traditions, what holiday’s should look like, etc… In the midst of all of those conversations I find myself thinking a lot about “what do I have to be thankful for.”
And let me tell you, God has been over-the-top generous with us this year. After being unemployed for a year, I was able to buy a house, pay for a wedding, buy an engagement ring, and pay for a honeymoon. And replenish all of my savings.
How you ask?
I have no idea. The only thing I can say is that it’s a true “fish and loaves” miracle. For me it’s easy to be thankful this year. But for a lot of us, 2010 has been a brutal year. Unemployment. Foreclosure. Medical issues. Family problems. The list can go on.
So how in the middle of a year like that can you be thankful?
Paul’s answer was, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)
Paul recognized that we need to focus on something other than our immediate, Earth-bound troubles. And that “something” was God.
Now before you think, “well that’s easy for Paul to say.” Listen to what he had said only moments before, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-12)
Paul was someone who knew a thing or two about being beaten, hated, punished, shipwrecked, jailed, and flogged. But he was also someone who knew a thing or two about God’s redeeming power, and the good news of the cross.
So this thanksgiving, as you’re looking at what you have to be thankful for, don’t forget that we have a loving God, who wants to be involved in your life. And that’s the best thing we could possibly ask for.