In the previous “Tool of Thanksgiving” post, I wrote on the supernatural response of being thankful while in the trial. We don’t have to be thankful FOR the trial itself, but rather maintain an appreciative mindset in general during those time. In this post, which I already gave you a hint previously, I’m going to show you how we can supersede our natural state, supersede our negative state, and become more than just conquerors in our trials. Notice I didn’t say supersede our trial, but rather how we can rise above the negativity of that trial.
At the risk of over-simplifying things and spoiling the gusto of this post, it’s all about perspective; what we are focused on. Have you ever noticed how as a generalization, a child wants to run and jump in the puddles after a storm but an adult, on the other hand, wants to avoid them at all costs? It’s about perspective. One sees the opportunity to make a HUGE splash and the other sees the risk of making a muddy mess … perspective. Remember the story of the guy with the heart attack? You may not have noticed at the time, but that is a vivid example of a difference in perspectives. One fellow saw the pain, the expense, the absence from work, the loss of income, the devastation of being a cardiac statistic, and the other saw it as an opportunity to reestablish the priorities and relationships in his life. Was one guy right and the other wrong? No, they were both right. There certainly was the reality of the devastation of a medical blow and a financial blow to the family as well but there was also the opportunity to do so much more with the winds of that storm.
Usually, while smack-dab in the trial, that’s the hardest times to be thankful, so what is there to be thankful for in the middle of a breast cancer diagnosis, a loss of a child, a divorce, the death of a spouse, et cetera? Those are hard times, I know … I’ve been there (actually, I’m dealing with a couple of those things while I write this post too). Start small. Start with one day at a time. Maybe you can only be sure of one thing … maybe you can only acknowledge (and appreciate) that you’re not in charge. Be thankful for that. Maybe you aren’t thankful you woke up from your sleep, maybe you wish you could have just slipped on into the afterlife, that ‘life’ would be easier if you were dead. What’s there to be thankful for in that state? I don’t know your situation, even if as extreme as that. I do know though, that you aren’t the only one to have asked that question or feel that way. I read a verse this morning that reminded me that Jesus too was tempted in every way I am, Hebrews 4:15. In every way you are. He too was tempted with suicide, tempted with despair, and anxiety. What’s so good about not being in charge of ‘life’ … my life, your life, everyone’s lives? God is sovereign, not fickle or changing. I am. Yesterday I wanted to be a doctor, today, I want to be an elementary school teacher. We change our minds and shouldn’t be in charge, even of my own life. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The sovereignty of God is an example of how all things are under God’s rule and control … I may not understand things from time to time (most of the time actually) but I can start out with being thankful that I’m not in charge. From there, our perspective grows, evolves if you will. From there maybe we’ll be thankful for a pretty sunset, a green traffic light, a parking space at #Wal-Mart, gas in my truck…(a truck!), clothes to get dressed into, food to feed my children, the fact that worker’s Comp is paying for my latest medical bill and not me, a free country to live in, a computer, a cell phone, etc. The list can be endless as our perspective evolves into the reality that there are things to be thankful for even in our darkest of realities.
The ‘magic’ of this, if you’ll allow me the liberty of calling it that, is that it takes our eyes off the pain and onto something better as we acknowledge our dependence on God’s help through thanksgiving. Through this, this giving of a thankful heart (even as a sacrifice), we rise above our trial, above the storms, above our pain and walk in a new victory and joy. Thankfulness, as I stated in the last Tool of “Thanksgiving” post, is a supernatural response to our natural events that yields supernatural results. Thankfulness lifts us above our problems giving us an even better perspective of our true reality. When we are in the storm, it is natural to see the rain, the winds, the capsized boat, etc. but when we rise above the storm, above the winds and rains, above the clouds, we can have a truer perspective of the big picture.
In the next Tool of “Thanksgiving” post, I’ll try and shed some more light on Thanksgiving, the holiday, and hopefully you will appreciate a ‘new’ perspective of this holiday we call Thanksgiving. It should be shorter, but hopefully, it will give some illumination to possibly an obscure (or at least, muddled) holiday. Tell me, have you experienced what I’m speaking of today? Have you ever, climbed above your circumstances and found the strength that only God can give while going through your own storms?
Until later . . .
- Sermon: Worship God on Thanksgiving Day (drtimwhite.com)
- November might be my favorite month (jessjots94.wordpress.com)