One year, leading up to Thanksgiving, my friend Tim Simpson, wrote an article in his church newsletter. It had been a particularly tough year for him in part because he lost his eyesight to diabetes. He wrote:
“The tradition in my family is to say, just before the Thanksgiving meal each November, what we are each Thankful for. This year, I am going to say that I am thankful for the difficult things in my life. That’s a bit of a switch for me, because, like most people, I am usually thankful for things which evoke happy thoughts, precious memories and positive emotions. And I am still thankful for those sorts of things mind you. But, this year has reminded me that much of what really matters in life does not have it’s origins in happiness. Instead, these things come about through hard work, through facing adversity, by overcoming obstacles, working with difficult people, and waiting out hard times.”
The Apostle Paul encouraged us to give thanks in all circumstances. Today, may you pause to consider the many, many blessings in your life. And, may you also pause to consider what God may be wanting to do even through your challenges.
Let us pray: We have set this day aside, O God, to remember your bountiful provision, your goodness and grace. When our eyes and hearts are open, we can’t fail to notice your hand at work, your loving kindness, your presence and love.
Today, we especially lift up people who are hungry, those who are without homes and others who are far from loved ones. May they discover your compassion and mercy – even in the midst of difficult times and even through people they may not know well.
Out of gratitude, we return our hearts and our lives to you. Use us in the days and weeks ahead to bless others, and by so doing to bless you. Great is thy faithfulness, O God our Father. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto us! In Jesus name. Amen.