Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks to God for his bountiful blessings. Blessings… the good things God gives us….or is it? Are blessings always little sweet pieces of candy falling from heaven?
When we are thanking God for His blessings, do we really understand God’s definition of blessing? Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, including pain and suffering many times. It is easy to be thankful for a new car, food on the table, a great paying job, or some other “feel good” gift from God. Can we thank God for the blessing of pain or the difficult lessons we are learning while struggling through a relentless never-ending trial?
I have two very dear friends that are devoted and dedicated pastor’s wives. Each of these ladies have struggled valiantly this last year with Cancer. I called one on a particularly “bad report” day to encourage her and let her know how much I loved her and was praying for her. To my surprise, she answered the phone with a chipper, up-beat spirit. As we chatted about this and that, I suddenly realized that she was encouraging me to have faith. She was challenging my ability to believe God for healing and miracles in our church. She was expressing to me how blessed she was to be going through something that was challenging her faith. Whether God healed her or not, He is still God and he is still the healer. When the conversation was finished, I replaced the receiver on the telephone, so full of faith and excited about the blessings of God that I rejoiced for hours! Where did this extraordinary amount of faith come from? Was not she struggling with a painful disease stealing healthy blood cells and weakening her body daily?
So, my paradigm of “blessing” has changed, which has ricocheted a change in my attitude toward “thankfulness” drastically. I am learning daily how to be thankful for every part of life, good or bad. I understand that God uses blessings of uncomfortable proportions to perform his purpose and plan in my life. He desires to perfect Himself in me. To do that, to know Him the way I want to know Him includes sharing in His suffering….heavy duty isn’t it? But I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share in His suffering….for through that conduit, I will find compassion, perseverance, and like my friend, a generous portion of positive faith. I would not trade what I am learning in the classroom of suffering for a thousand buckets of little sweet pieces of candy falling from heaven.
This Thanksgiving my prayer will be the same, “Thank you God for your bountiful blessings.” But this year, I understand a little better the meaning of “blessing”. This year I am thankful for His bountiful blessings like never before!