When it is Hard to Give Thanks

It’s almost Thanksgiving! This usually means good food (hot pot if you are Chinese), family, friends coming back, more food, movie vegging during days off, and more food. Plus Christmas is around the corner and that means more days off. I was up in Idyllwild last weekend and there was some early snowfall action; looks like it’ll be a good snowboarding season.

2013-11-23_08-47-43_69

not sure who made this little guy

It’s a time where we are supposed to count our blessings and make a list of all the things we are thankful for. But what if it’s not so easy to give thanks? Maybe things are hard financially or someone lost a job. Perhaps you have lost a loved one, or this time reminds you of a loss in the past. Sometimes it is hard to give thanks, even though we know we have many things to be thankful for.

I think sometimes well-meaning Christians do more harm when we “look on the bright side” that in Christ we have eternal life, love, peace, etc and try to ignore the very real suffering that one is experiencing. While it is true that our struggles here are “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed” (Romans 8:18) and our “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory” (2 Cor 4:17), God does not call us to deceive ourselves and stuff away how we really feel.

I’ll share more about this during our Thanksgiving program, but for now, if you are in that place, I hope you can find encouragement in the psalms. When I read the honest expressions of the psalmists, I am reminded that our sadness, anger, and even doubts can exist side-by-side with our faith in God, and we can bring all of that to God.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s