Giving Thanks — When It’s Really Hard to Be Thankful

She started losing her hair on Thanksgiving weekend.

It had been a tough autumn. Unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, she had seen life as she knew it drastically change. The mundane tasks of working and raising a family were replaced with the fatigue and nausea of chemotherapy. Every day was a challenge and the accompanying emotions were intense.

She would give anything to go back to the mundane.

And now it was Thanksgiving, and, to top it all off, she was losing her hair. What could she possibly have to be thankful for?

Giving Thanks when it is really hard to be thankfulGive thanks in all circumstances. ALL circumstances. It is easy to give thanks on the good days, but “all circumstances” encompasses all kinds of days – the good and the not-so-good.  So what happens when we are living in the middle of the “not-so-good”? What happens when the “not-so-good” overpowers the good and it feels like there is no end in sight, when we are reminded to give thanks in all circumstances but every part of our being screams out, “But you don’t know MY circumstances! I have nothing to be thankful for!”

And it sure feels that way sometimes.

How can we possibly give thanks for cancer? For the sudden death of a loved one? For the tragic accident that took our young child? For all the cold, ugly, horrible circumstances that attack us and leave us wounded?

The answer? We can’t . . . and we aren’t expected to. Notice, the Bible says to give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. We do not need to be thankful for the tragedies in our lives, but we DO need to let those tragedies focus us on the hope that we have for the future . . .

A future free from cancer. A future free from tragedy. A future free from pain, hurt, sorrow, and mourning. A future that is waiting for us . . .

A future for which we can be truly thankful.

Are you in the trenches right now? Is your life filled with doctor’s appointments, fear, uncertainty, and pain? Are you approaching this Thanksgiving Day with a feeling of dread . . . trying to plaster on a fake smile as you go through the motions of counting your blessings, only to fear that counting your blessings somehow diminishes the pain of the trials you are experiencing?

Are you losing your hair on Thanksgiving Day?

Remember, dear friend, your present situation does not define your life. Your life is defined by a future that is not of this world . . . a future that is waiting for you in heaven! Your future is bright!

And that is something for which we can ALL give thanks!

In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world! (John 16:33)

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I don’t know your situation, but I pray that this blog post will speak to your heart.  Life is hard.  But we serve a God who is faithful and promises to be with us through it all.  I wrote this post because I don’t think God wants us to deny the hard times.  He doesn’t want us to put on those fake smiles and hide our true feelings . . . he wants us to live an HONEST life, and that means HONESTLY dealing with the hurt and pain.  I believe that it is possible to do this with an attitude of thankfulness by focusing our thankfulness on the promises of God.  I really do not know how people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ make it through the difficult times, because sometimes the only way to make it through the difficult times is to remember that the difficult times will not last forever.  Some day those of us who follow Christ will be in heaven with Him forever . . . and He Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Hold on to that promise this Thanksgiving!

Cheri

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Author: Cheri Gamble

Cheri Gamble is a minister's wife and mom to five boys who lives in Southwestern Lower Michigan. She and her husband, Tom, have been married for over twenty years and they have been involved with vocational ministry for just as long. Cheri enjoys working with the children and youth at her church as a Sunday School teacher, children's worship leader, and children's music and drama leader. She also serves as a volunteer consultant at the local Pregnancy Resource Center and works part time as a Youth Services Team Member at her local library. In her free time, Cheri enjoys reading, writing, working on her blog, and watching football with her boys.

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