By Nathan Leal
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I know it’s not always easy. And sometimes it’s just plain difficult. But the Bible tells us to give thanks in all things.
For the happy things, it is easy to give thanks: a new job, a new house, a new baby, a new relationship. For these things, thankfulness flows off the tongue like a spring rain.
It’s also easy to give thanks when we are rescued from a dilemma like an unpaid bill, or receiving a good report about our health. But what about the hard things? What about the issues of life that keep us awake at night?
What about the loss of a job?
What about the dreaded report that our health is not so good?
What about the midnight phone call that changes everything?
What about that pain in our body that doesn’t want to go away?
What about hearing that the answer to our prayers is, “no?”… or “not yet?”
Have you been there folks? If you’ve lived long enough you have.
I have. I am there right now. I’m asking God to heal this old body of lupus.
… I’m still waiting.
It can be trying at times. The mind wants to do so much. But the body resists. No problem, instead of swinging the hammer, I’ll just pray. Unfortunately, before you know it, the day is gone. And things still need to get done.
… But the Bible says, “In everything give thanks….”
So I do. I thank the Lord for my family. I thank Him for my wife. I thank Him that my children are healthy. I thank Him for the roof over my head.
… And I thank Him for another day of letting me stay; and letting me continue the work. I thank Him for letting me be on the team. “God, if you can use this old vessel, please do. And thanks for considering it.”
My oldest son, Brennan picked up a hammer and finished a little building project for my wife and I. He built a little shed that the baby lambs could sleep in. For that, I give thanks. Thank you Lord, that You gave me a son to help us around the house. I also thank You that he is serving You.
I also thank the Lord that my younger son is serving God. He is sixteen. Healthy. And he just got his driver’s license. So I am thanking the Lord for protecting him when he’s on the road. Lord, thank you for protecting my son when he drives in the snow. Thank you for surrounding him with Your angels. And I thank you Lord, that He is serving You and wants to be a preacher someday.
My youngest child is ten. Hannah. My little girl. She is a precious gift to my wife and I, and she showed up in my wife’s tummy just a few months after the miscarriage.
I remember when it happened. I remember wondering why.
My wife wept. I wept. We didn’t understand. But we prayed anyway. God, I don’t know why this happened, but You do and we are going to trust You. So thank you for the comfort during this time of grief.
Before it happened, I never knew that a miscarriage could cause so much pain. I remember hearing other couples talk about it. But I didn’t understand. After all, they didn’t get a chance to know the baby. So I did not understand how painful it was.
Then it happened to us…With a lot of tears.
Tears on the pillow while trying to fall asleep. Tears on the way to work. Tears at work.
Donna and I had been trying to have another child for six years. He came for a little while, but it was not to be.
It was a short hello. And then he was gone.
We named him Tristan. In the Latin, it means, “sorrow.” And Tristan’s short time with us ended in sorrow. Only God knows why it happened.
…But we thanked Him anyway.
That was in 2005.
Two months later, a miracle happened. God placed Hannah inside of Donna. Tears of grief turned into tears of joy.
…So we thanked Him.
We thanked Him that He gave us four children. One of them is in Heaven waiting for us.
…What a day that will be…
So my friends, I understand that while we are here, it can be rough sometimes.
Sometimes we are sad.
Sometimes the pain doesn’t want to go away.
And sometimes … Our loved ones go away; causing us to ask, “why?”
…”God, why did this happen?” Most of the time, He doesn’t give us the answer.
But He does tell us one thing, – We should give thanks…in everything.
As His children, we gotta do this… even when it’s hard. And even though it can be difficult, we gotta do it by faith.
… By faith, my friend.
In the natural it makes no sense. The natural mind would say, “why be thankful when everything is a mess?”
But there is a reason. When we give thanks to God, especially during trials, it shows that we are trusting Him. Thanking Him is our testimony that no matter what, we believe He’s going to see us through.
…Giving thanks during difficulty reveals faith. And my friend, faith gets God’s attention.
So in this season of Thanksgiving, I know it’s easy to give thanks for the good things, but I want to encourage those of you out there who are in the midst of trial and possibly heartache.
Give thanks to God my friend. Thank Him for salvation. Thank Him for His unspeakable Gift, for our resurrected Lord Jesus. Our Messiah. Our Savior.
– Thank Him for His provision.
– Thank Him for the future provision that is on its way.
– Thank Him for the strength that He has given you to hold you up during your hour of need.
– Thank Him for the years that He has already given to you.
– Thank Him for your family.
– For your loved ones.
And the time that He has allowed you to be with them, and their time with you….because we never know when our time will come.
Make memories this Thanksgiving my friends.
Because we don’t know how many thanksgivings we have left.
Hug your wife. Hug your children.
Hug your friends. And thank the Lord for them.
In everything give thanks. This is indeed a good thing.
May you be blessed this Thanksgiving holiday.