1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We Christians are reminded in scripture that it is God’s Will that we give thanks in everything; every circumstance, every blessing, every trial. Of course, we should. But this is the time of year when most of us take some time especially for the purpose of taking inventory of the things for which we are thankful. Personally, I enjoy it. My problems seem to shrink significantly in the face of my many blessings. Although we try to be thankful in all things, we often fail to do so because we don’t immediately see the purpose in some things, and so when we take some time to reflect back on the things that the Lord has brought us through, it is then that we can usually see that God’s hand was upon us through even our darkest hours, and that He was blessing us even in the trials.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First and foremost, I’m thankful that God saved me by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus many years ago. This year, God has made some very significant changes in my life and the lives of my family, and we are much better for those changes. This year, The Lord led us back into ministry, and not only that, but opened many doors which were thought to be closed. This year, The Lord allowed me to lead my son to trust Christ for salvation, along with 5 others in the Sunday School Class. I was able to baptize my own son with that group. This year, my son began to learn piano, and is now regularly playing and singing in the services. This year, The Lord helped our family heal some hurts that we had been fighting for years. This year, God gave us a Nursing Home Ministry that has been such a blessing to me and our church, and regularly sees a majority residents in attendance. Most recently, our daughter told my wife and I that she trusted Jesus and got saved in her bed just the other night. This year, God gave me a complete Christian home.
We are reaching more and more people through this website and our podcast, and God has allowed us to oversee and manage the website for our church. During my regular travels for my work, I regularly get the opportunity to witness to people from all walks of life, and have been blessed to make some friends along the way.
I am thankful for the many blessings I have received from God this year. I am also thankful for each and every trial, lesson, and temptation. For me, it seems the best learned lessons are also the hardest learned lessons, and I have had some hard lessons this year. I have had friends abandon me, family betray me, and have endured times that I actually believed I could not possibly go through. But just as God was with me in the bright times, He was there in the dark times, as well. And by His strength, and not my own, I came through each fiery trial much stronger, and much more prepared for the next work, lesson, or trial that was headed my way.
This year, I realized that I am an absolute failure, but that God absolutely never fails. I am learning to trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, commit my way unto the Lord, rest in the Lord, and wait upon the Lord (Psalm 37). Although I am nowhere near where I should be, God is still molding me and purifying me daily.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
So, yes. I am very thankful. I have much to be thankful for. I’ve shed many tears this year. Some of joy, and some of pure agony and loss. Each of them is in His bottle, written in His book (Psalm 56:8); and each of them was for my good, and helped to teach me so many valuable lessons. My only desire is to walk with the Lord for the remainder of my days, and to lead as many to Jesus as I can, while there is still time. I’m thankful for that opportunity, as well.