The day of thanks is here again. There is always something to be thankful for. Sometimes it’s difficult to find that something, I realize. When I was struggling, my “Thankful” jar was empty. I could not find one thing to be thankful for. This is a shame-on-me thing because the truth was, I had many things to be thankful for.
Maybe the car doesn’t work, anxiety is overwhelming, thoughts of quitting or hopelessness plague, bills are mounting, loneliness is discouraging, the kids aren’t behaving, health issues are worrisome, things aren’t going the way hoped, the addiction is unbearable, and more. I could name a hundred things that seemed to be going wrong.
As I prayed and kept trudging ahead, I began to make a choice to offer God a ‘sacrifice of praise ‘ as in Psalm 27.6. I felt better when I did. I started by being thankful for living free in America, having great friends and family, God with me, and every simple thing I could think of to try to find at least ONE thing a day to be thankful for each day. Eventually, the list began to grow.
I am sorry to admit that being thankful was a sacrifice for me because my tendency is to only see the difficulties and not ‘count my blessings’ as often spoke about. I was a ‘glass 1/2 empty’ glass kinda girl. As I studied to help with the struggles I faced and what I share with others I know struggle, the scripture 2 Corinthians 10.4 became meaningful. This tells us- ‘ the weapons of our warfare… are strong and mighty…’
I find that the struggles we face are sometimes attacks by dark forces. We are in a battle whether or not we or our loved ones want to be. I wondered what ‘our weapons’ were. I realized one of my strongest weapons against the depression and struggles-and I know are helpful with addictions, compulsions, eating disorders- any struggle – is praise and a thankful heart. Being thankful is a form of praise.
The most difficult thing I experienced was the thought of being thankful for the struggle I faced. I never thought I could be thankful for the pain. The Bible tells me to be thankful in all things. (1 Thesselonians 5.18) Over time, I did begin to thank God for the pain I experienced and the situations I felt were bad and could never be considered good in life. Now, I am thankful to God for having sent the struggles into my life because they served as my pathway to Him. I know Him in a way I would never have known Him without them. Also, I became free of the struggle as the days continued.
George Mueller refers to Ro. 8.28 when he reminds us, ‘In 1,000 trials, it is not 500 of them that work for the believer’s good, but 999 and one beside.’ All things in our life work together for good. Even the broken things and pain and discouragement and struggle I faced and we all face.
I pray for any struggling person-no matter the struggle, to find something to be thankful for and to have eyes to see that the struggle they are in can be their pathway to the Living God and become good for them and others they will eventually help in life.
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