The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
During this holiday season, even the most cantankerous, grumbling folk can muster up a few words of gratitude for obvious ways that they are blessed. Even in these difficult times, most of us have at least one thing we can thank God for.
I, as an American-born citizen, resident of a trendy city, member of an influential church, occupant of a comfortable home, wife of a godly man, mother to 3 great kids, have much for which to be thankful. Those things are obvious - I'd be a fool not to recognize the lavish earthly blessings God has bestowed on me.
Paradoxically, over the past few years, God has given me a perspective on the darkness in my life for which I, too, can truly offer praise and gratitude. The very experiences that others would look upon as suffering and trials are the very events that I hold most precious. They are the things for which I thank Him for most fervently this Thanksgiving because they are the vehicles through which I have gained more of Christ. Deeper intimacy with Him and true worship of Him are the result of receiving into our lives both the obvious blessings and the "obscured for the moment" blessings.
Dear Father, Thanks for giving me a dad who didn't always protect me from harm so I could discover true comfort and protection in the arms of my Heavenly Father.
Thanks for giving me an uncertain prognosis for bearing children because of my past sin. The 3 children born out of your Grace and Redemption are tangible gifts of your love for me daily.
Thanks for giving me a husband that didn't lead me well early in our marriage so my sin of control and usurping authority would be exposed. The joy we experience today in our marriage as we live out the gospel to each other is nothing short of miraculous.
I offer you my submitted, grateful heart as an act of worship because you are worthy to receive my gratitude in all circumstances. Amen.
This Thanksgiving, let us humbly and freely thank God for the obvious blessings - the blatant outpouring of His Grace upon all of our lives. Let us also be grateful for the subtle, even difficult, blessings in disguise - they are gifts of sanctification that endear our Savior to us all the more.