It’s Thanksgiving, and many people will sit down at beautiful tables today, surrounded by food, friends, and family. Inside, though, some will be feeling an awful lot like Job, the man who sat down surrounded by the grief of losing 10 children, 11,500 animals, and a large number of servants. He sat, feeling devastated and scraping at sores that covered his body.
If that’s you, what’s the devastation you’re sitting in? What makes you feel that maybe God isn’t for you, but instead is against you? Loneliness, unemployment, unending physical pain? Divorce, death, addiction? A terminal diagnosis, depression, bankruptcy?
When you are filled with struggle, hurt, and loss, how do you face a day when an entire nation is telling you it’s time to be thankful? On a day when even the Word of God is telling you to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)?
You know what?
As Job sat there, he didn’t know why God allowed Satan’s extreme testing. Job didn’t know he would have more children. (Not ones to replace the ten who died. He still mourned them until he went to heaven.) Job didn’t know his health and wealth would be restored. Job didn’t know how his story would end.
So he simply stated what he did know:
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).
While you’re wondering how in the world you’re supposed to be thankful today, remember that you have no idea how your story will end. You have no idea the plans God has for you. So start by saying what you know.
You know that your Redeemer lives.
You know he is coming back.
You know you will see him with your own eyes.
You know that God will work all things for his glory.
You know that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you—a fancy way of saying he’s pleading to God on your behalf.
Once you state what you do know, it becomes a little easier to say thanks—even in the middle of your devastation—because you start seeing the blessings that he is working, even in the middle of your pain.
This Thanksgiving, if you’re among the hurting, there’s a whole body of believers who would be honored to pray for you. I would be honored to pray for you. Please share your requests in the comments or visit our Time of Grace prayer wall.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who doesn’t like it when the gravy leaks into other food (especially cranberries!) on her Thanksgiving plate.
P.S. For more encouragement, watch today’s Your Time of Grace video devotion about how we can be thankful for pain.