Thanksgiving is upon us. Where has this year gone? It simply amazes me that we are just over a month away from ending the 2016 calendar year. As we get into the Thanksgiving holiday, we are all reminded to take a step back and reflect on what we have to be thankful for. And we have so much, even if life is not going exactly the way that we thought it would this year.
This has not been the most straight-forward of years for me. There have been things that have happened along the way that I did not see coming. Such is life, though. It started off with my mom falling and shattering her shoulder in three places. On top of that, she lives in East Tennessee, so I was not even able to be there to help her.
My wife was working for a family here in town, and really enjoying her job. The family, however, ended up moving out of state due to a job promotion, and due to some other unforeseen circumstances, she has not been able to find another job yet.
Most recently, my wife’s grandmother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, and passed away so quickly that we were not able to make it to Ohio until two weeks after she passed away. That does not even start to cover things not going the way we thought in regards to friends and church members that we know.
I am sure you can relate, because life usually does not go the way we think it should or the way we want it to. It just does not work that way. So, what do we have to be thankful for? For me, I have a job that I love, a family that loves me, good friends, and most importantly, Jesus who went to the cross to die for me, even when I did not (and still do not) deserve it. He went there for you as well! That should be the best news you have ever received in your life, and something that you can be thankful for, even in the hard times of life.
There is a story found in Acts 16:1-10 that I believe can show us what can happen when we trust God and are thankful for Him, even when life does not go as planned. I will let you read it on your own if you want, but basically it is a story about a man named Paul. Paul is going around, preaching about Jesus, and desperately wants to go preach the gospel in the province of Asia. He is laser focused on the idea of going to Asia to preach, yet every time he tries, the story says that he is prevented by the Holy Spirit.
If you read about Paul, one of the things you will see is that once he sets his mind to something, he is going to do everything he can to get it done. When he is prevented from doing something he feels strongly about, he does not take it very well. This would be the case with being prevented from entering Asia as well. But Paul trusts God, and is thankful for His guidance.
How do I know that he trusts God? Paul is able to sleep that night, right after being prevented again from going to Asia. In his sleep, he has a dream that basically calls Paul and his companions to go to Macedonia instead of Asia to preach. And that is exactly what he does.
It was not where he saw his life going, but he did not lose sleep over it either. He trusted God, and was grateful for God’s guidance in his life. So what about you? Does anything keep you up at night, or are you able to trust God and be thankful, even when life is not what you think it should be?
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak