Happy Thanks Giving. This is a day that is so uniquely named. Just the name of it makes us pause to think about a Great Benefactor, to Whom we give thanks on this day.
When the hoped for job comes through, when there is an unexpected check in the mail, when the wayward child returns home, when the test results come back “negative” or “benign,” we eagerly thank God for His goodness.
But He is good no matter what circumstances we face. Even when the job falls through or is given to another, even when there is more month than money, when rebellion strikes our home like a tidal wave, when the doctor begins his sentence with “I’m sorry, but…” God is STILL good. He is STILL on the throne. We live in a Genesis 3 world. It is fallen. Suffering will happen. God is still good.
It is at times like this when this passage takes on a particularly challenging meaning:
And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate
to make the people holy through his own blood.
Let us, then, go to him outside the camp,
bearing the disgrace he bore.
For here we do not have an enduring city,
but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Through Jesus, therefore,
let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—
the fruit of lips that confess his name.
– Hebrews 13:12-15
Thanks Giving is crying out with Job no matter what circumstances, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” This doesn’t come “naturally.” In fact, it is counter-intuitive. But in this giving, in this sacrifice out of desperation, I find myself connected with my God in a way that takes me by surprise. In the midst of the suffering, the grief, the sadness, there is a mysterious joy when I offer the sacrifice of praise.
Lately, I am asking God to cause me not just to endure my crosses in life, but to embrace them as needful tools in the hand of a good, loving, perfect God. Those very things that I rue, are the very instruments through which God is growing me to be more like my Savior–the reason I am on this planet.
As I choose to Give Thanks, I am in a place of humility. In this place of humility, I see God as He is and me as I am. I see all the many good gifts and even the suffering he allows in my life as blessings. This puts me at peace. Surrendering to His good authority. In this place, I don’t grab for more than He has apportioned me. More stuff, more food, more love, more recognition…I don’t insist on having more than my share, more than He has determined that I need.
What challenges is God assigning to you that you might offer a sacrifice of praise? Will you choose to do so today?