Monday, November 22
When you know your destination, is the journey any easier? More enjoyable? Depends, doesn’t it?
Depends on how long it takes to get there, what happens on the way, and if the kids say, “Are we there yet?” a bazillion times.
What if your destination is Grandma’s for that Thanksgiving turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, or whatever your traditional fare is?
If you travel any distance to get to this feast, doesn’t the end result give you pleasure along the way? Are you not thankful for this tasty repast even as you travel? And when everyone is seated around the table, isn’t the long journey a mere memory?
Shouldn’t this be our attitude in our journey through life? When we experience the bumps and potholes of trials and hurts, our desirable destination is to get to the other side of these things, knowing our thanksgiving will emerge there. But shouldn’t the journey be filled with thanksgiving as well, knowing that God will see us through it all?
What happens to our thanksgiving when we meet those different obstacles along the way? What happens to our thanksgiving when peace disintegrates into chaos, when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off, when a child is in a car wreck, when the repo man stands knocking at the door, when friends desert, when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection, when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance, when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away, when the cupboard holds no more than the cup?
I have known all of the above, and through them all, I experienced the Lord walking by my side and His hand at work in my circumstances to make “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28 NKJV)
I desire to have the same attitude of gratitude as Habakkuk. In his prayer, the prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)
Through it all, I have learned to praise God no matter what. When my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that need to “take a ticket, take a seat,” and the songs of my heart begin to stick in my throat, do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet! When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him? Absolutely! When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)
I have also learned Paul’s secret, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want,” (Phil. 4:12 TLB) for the secret is as he told the Thessalonians, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB)
Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year, special holiday for being as overstuffed as the turkey. Thanksgiving is an eternal season of the heart, an overflow of the heart’s gratitude for all that God has done, is doing, and will do, and for everything one possesses, no matter how much or how little that may be.
Therefore, every day of our journey is Thanksgiving Day.
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Col. 4:2 NKJV)