This is the first in a weekly blog series leading up to Thanksgiving. Join the conversation at #3WeeksofThanks.
Today is the first day of #3WeeksofThanks.
Full disclosure: I’m not feeling particularly thankful.
We’ve been short on sleep and long on conflict at our house this week, and that makes for a tired family. Just as I predicted, Thanksgiving isn’t really at the top of our minds. It’s still four weekends away, but here we are, intentionally entering into a season of being reminded of God’s faithfulness in the smallest, most frustrating and even most sorrow-laden areas of our lives.
It occurred to me yesterday that I am a work in progress, and I am so glad God is not done with me yet. The older I get, the more I come to the realization that He loves me enough not to leave me in my selfishness and pride. He’s pulling out the sandpaper and smoothing those rough edges for His glory. Though it is uncomfortable and downright painful at times, in the end I know He is working in me for my good, because He loves me.
As I’m looking at the theme of thanksgiving and the faithfulness of God throughout His Word, I’m struck by just how many times the Israelites forget who God is and turn away from Him to worship something else.
Then the call comes to remember. Again and again, the people are reminded of what God has done in the past, and who they really belong to. Psalm 77:11 (NIV) says, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
He loves them enough not to leave them in their sin. And He draws them back to Himself, although the cost is high.
Often I find that when I’m not feeling thankful, it’s not because I am not thankful — it’s because I have forgotten who God is and what He has done in the past, not only for me and our family, but for humans throughout history. Looking through His Word at the events of the Old Testament, leading into the life of Jesus, His death and resurrection, then the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the progress of the early church, I am reminded that the same God who set those events in motion is the same God who meets me where I am in this moment of the day when I need Him most.
He draws me back to Himself, and I can say with the Psalmist: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Only then does it seem possible to live out the words of Colossians 3:15 (NIV) in even the intense and difficult moments of today:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.