Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving. Give thanks to God, bless his name; good indeed is the LORD whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age.
Thanksgiving is when we gather with family and friends and give thanks for all God has given us. I am so thankful to have my son home from Iraq. I am thankful for two new sons-in-law and a new daughter-in-law this year. I am thankful for Gary's job and my job. I am thankful for a home and for provision and protection of my daily needs. It is easy to be thankful when everything seems to be going your way. At other times and in other less joyful situations it may not be as easy to remember to be thankful, even though we are asked to give thanks to God for everything in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Two years ago our lives were a much different story. Our son had just left for Iraq for a second tour of duty and we had Thanksgiving in October before he left. My mother had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Gary was working the night shift driving a fork lift because a teaching job had not come his way. Our house had not sold in Lubbock. Our daughter was living in Lubbock and wanted to move up here with us. All circumstances – that means both the good times and the bad. You may ask, “Why all circumstances? Why be thankful for the bad happenings of life?” As I understand it, God doesn’t cause the bad things but He will use our experiences for our good. In Romans 8:28, Paul tells us: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

This doesn’t mean that everything in our life is going to be rosy. It does mean that when things do happen that are caused by sin and sin’s presence in our world, God will work and good things can be accomplished because of how He works through those circumstances in our lives. He accomplishes his purposes through our circumstances.

God worked out the circumstances of our lives. As it happened my mother was with us when we celebrated Thanksgiving that year before J left for Iraq. It would be the last time he would see his Mema. My mother passed away the following January. I had moved back to Lubbock in 2001 which gave me five years with her that enabled us to restore a broken relationship and grow closer to each other. Gary found a teaching job the following year and is happily teaching second grade in Arlington. Our house sold the next summer after fifteen months. Kiersten moved here with us, met a young man and they married this summer. All circumstances work together for the good of those who love the Lord. We may not understand them at the time and there is a good possibility we will not like them, but God sees our whole lives, not just one day or one year. He uses circumstances in our lives to make us stronger, to build our character, and to draw us closer to Him. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year and may you have joy and peace no matter what your circumstances.

Have a great day in the Lord!