By: Vivian Wilson 

Chalkboard and autumn maple leaves on background

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Ideally it is a day we set aside to intentionally thank God for His goodness and provision for us. So you are probably expecting me to give you a general list of things for which I am grateful; things like faith, family, friends, babies, puppies, kittens, sunsets, beaches, turkey and dressing, and pumpkin pie.

I am grateful for all of these things to be sure. But in my “life lessons” course for this year, (some of you may remember that the word God gave me in January, was “surrender”), I am learning to be truly grateful for the trials and difficulties that God tailored especially for me to teach me to surrender.

Let me say here that I have learned that things can always be worse. I do not compare my trials with those of anyone else. God has determined exactly what each of His children needs to grow him/her into the image of his Son.  And I know that in every situation of every child of God, He provides the grace that he/she needs to come through in victory.

Am I grateful because I like to “suffer”?

NO.

What I like is that I can see God’s loving hand on my life as He uses difficult circumstances to change me. As I surrender my plans and my will to Him, He shapes me into the person He created me to be.

Pain and hard things force me out of my comfort zone, beyond the boundaries of my perceived limitations.

It is in this place where God stretches me. It is in this place where my faith and my trust are tested.  It is here where I practice perseverance. I realize my great need for a sovereign God who loves me.

Psalm 119:71-72  “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees”.

It is in the hard places that God draws me closer to Him and my love for Him grows. My heart overflows with praise and worship because I know that I am not alone and that no matter what the circumstances may be, I belong to my Heavenly Father, who has a good and perfect plan for me. I know that He is fully capable of bringing His plan to completion on time. In the hard times, the joy and peace that come from Him is even sweeter.

Romans 15:13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

So, yes, I thank God for the “hard” days. I will thank Him not only tomorrow, but today and every day. I will also thank Him for the “easy” days and for all the wonderful gifts He gives, like faith, family, friends, puppies, and pumpkin pie.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Where there is a grateful heart, there is no room for bitterness, envy, or jealousy.  A grateful heart is an open door to a deeper relationship with the ONE who loves me beyond my imagination.

May you have a joyful Day of Thanksgiving!

A work in progress,

Vivian