Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18)
Last Easter was different from any we remember, at least for most of us. Many of us were sad that the usual family gatherings were limited, or non-existent, and kids who remembered the holiday as a time for egg hunts and seeing the Easter Bunny at the mall felt let down. But the absence of the “fluff” (and I don’t mean just Peeps) gave us a clearer picture of where our focus as Christians was supposed to be, anyway. After all, the first Resurrection Day began with a profound sadness for those who had followed Jesus, with memories of His excruciating, humiliating death on a Roman cross still fresh in their minds. The ache of inconsolable grief, mixed with residual fear of the Romans, no doubt filled their souls. But soon the devoted women who had come to anoint His body, then the other disciples, who took some convincing at first, knew that the story of their Messiah was not over yet! He had given His life to pay for their sins, then fulfilled His promise, that on the third day He would rise to eternal life – and so would they!
So, if we allowed it, last Easter/Resurrection Day was possibly the most meaningful we have ever had. What’s more, there was evidence everywhere that the gospel had spread to formerly unreached peoples, races, tribes, and tongues in astonishing numbers – as in billions. See “Pandemic: God’s Plan A?”: https://seekingdivineperspective.com/2020/05/08/pandemic-gods-plan-a/
As we look ahead to the holiday known in America as “Thanksgiving” (though admittedly we should be giving thanks every day), it seems we have another opportunity to make the holiday more meaningful. Those of you my age will probably remember Joni Mitchell’s lyrics, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?” (“Big Yellow Taxi,” 1970) Or as the Mills Brothers put it many years before that, “You’ll Never Miss the Water til the Well Runs Dry.”
Some of us have a had a dry year, to say the least. So, How’s our attitude?
As we possibly get distracted thinking about what we’re missing this year, we shouldn’t lose sight of what we still have. And there’s nothing wrong with being thankful for what we used to have, especially if we didn’t think to give thanks when we had it.
Occasionally God has had to remind me of this truth. A good example is something I experienced decades ago…
I was still a college student, majoring in performing arts. I was also in the throes of a full-blown eating disorder with body image problems that might be hard to understand now. In those days the ridiculously thin and long-legged Barbie doll was considered the ideal female form, and every girl fell short of that model. (What were they thinking???)For years I hated my “fat legs,” although now I realize it was more that my legs are short, which could explain why I could stand and place my palms on the floor without bending my knees. But I digress …
I was at the university gym, heading out to the pool. My lower half was wrapped in a towel to cover what I considered a major flaw, but right by the door someone had decided to put a full-length mirror. (What were they thinking?) As I slipped the towel off to take a quick glance, I felt the usual disgust.
An old proverb says, “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” What happened next was a similar experience, only the Lord cared enough about me to make sure I would never forgot how blessed I am – as evidenced by the fact that I still remember that day vividly.
As I stepped out onto the deck, I was met by not one, but dozens of special-needs kids. Apparently this was a field trip for them to get out and enjoy a day at the pool. Wheelchairs were everywhere. Some kids were sitting by the pool, dangling their thin little legs in the water, smiling wistfully. Some were still in their wheelchairs waiting for someone to help them into the water. And volunteers were holding others, jumping up and down with them in the shallow end, as the children splashed and giggled with glee.
Shame came over me like a tidal wave. With tears in my eyes, I confessed my despicable attitude and begged the Lord to forgive me. (He did.)
I’d like to say that from that day on I had no body image issues, but I would be lying. It took years of drawing close to Jesus, learning who I am in Him, holding onto His truth rather than my emotions, and things like journaling, Scripture memory, and whatever else He led me to do. In talking with a Christian counselor once, I told him about my journey out of bulimia, which some say is impossible without a counselor! He said if I had come to him, he would have told me to do exactly what I had done. So, I guess I did have a Counselor – a “Wonderful Counselor!” (I hope to write more about this journey in the future, as I know I am not the only one who has struggled with an eating disorder, not by a long shot.)
The point here is that, no matter what we feel we lack, we have something to be thankful for – probably many things. Even if we had nothing at all in this world, if we have placed our faith in Jesus, we have eternity with Him to look forward to, and eternity will quickly swallow up this brief blink of an eye we call “life.”
So, let us GIVE THANKS!!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You gave everything for us, that we could be with You eternally! If the promise of heaven were all we had, we could still thank You forever. And yet, You’ve given us even more! We thank You with all our hearts, today and every day, in Your precious name. Amen