Thanksgiving is absolutely one of my favourite holidays. None of the pressure of picking out a perfect gift, all of the food, plenty of family… It’s literally the perfect holiday.
But it also holds a degree of melancholy. We’re supposed to count our blessings, but sometimes we look at our surroundings and feel a little thankless. Financial struggles, relationships in tension, physical illness, sin and hopelessness; all conspire together to strip away the Christian’s joy and make it difficult to be thankful. During life’s trials, it’s hard to consider it all joy, as the book of James prescribes.
One of my favourite books of the Bible is Hosea. Lately, I’ve been meditating on one particular verse. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her.” (2:14)
This has always been one of the most loving verses to me, but I don’t think I fully grasped it until I reached adulthood.
The wilderness isn’t a romantic place. It isn’t a beautiful place. It’s barren. There are trials. It hurts. When Jesus went into the wilderness after His baptism, He was sorely tempted and abused by Satan.
And yet… This is where God speaks tenderly to us. In our trials and our wildernesses, He is working and healing our hearts. Sometimes we need to be hemmed in by the desert to be filled by the Spirit. God brings trials into our lives for our good and His glory. Trials refine us.
My prayer is that we will not be hopeless in our trials, but trust that God is working and fulfilling His promises to redeem and sanctify us. We have been promised trouble and hardship in this life, but we are not without hope. We know who wins in the end. Even death does not get the victory. The glory and the honour and the victory all go to our Heavenly Father. And therefore we have much for which to be thankful!
I am exceptionally thankful for my family, my church, everyday access to the Word of God, and for how He answers prayer, never leaving my side even when the night seems dark. I am thankful for all the trials He has brought me through. Without them, I would not understand His mercy. I’m thankful for the blessings He throws at me so lavishly. Without them, I would despair. I am thankful that He gives me exactly what I need, when I need it; whether or not my wants match my needs. He is always good and gracious!