By Terri LaPoint
There is a reason that we say “giving” thanks. The act of thanks-giving is a choice.
It is easy to be thankful when all is right with our world. When we are able to sit down to an abundant feast at a table surrounded by everyone who should be there, gratitude comes easily.
But there are times when life does not feel bountiful. Chairs that should be filled with specific loved ones are empty. Some have passed on and will never again grace our table with their love and laughter. Others may have been taken through injustice, and are sitting at someone else’s table this year. Some are fighting long, weary battles, unsure if victory will ever come, unsure whether they will ever be reunited.
Only bittersweet memories remain.
It is in these moments that thanksgiving does not come easily.
The sun still rose this morning. Your lungs still fill with air as you take a deep breath, even as that breath may catch on a sob. If you look outside, the sky is still above, and the trees are still there.
As long as you have breath, there is hope. It is in these moments that we have the CHOICE to give thanks or to walk in despair. God speaks in the Bible of a “sacrifice of praise.” A sacrifice is that which does not come easily. It is a determination to give thanks even when things look bleak. It is a decision to acknowledge that God is still good and that He still loves us even when we cannot comprehend what is happening. It is a choice to look up and trust that a sovereign God is able to bring good out of even the most desperate of situations.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.The Bible – Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
It is in that moment that we have victory. It is in that moment of choosing to give thanks that we overcome the darkness that threatens to swallow us. It is then that we are able to lift our heads in new confidence that things will, somehow, get better, and there will be a new day.
It may not look like the old days that we long for so desperately, but we can find purpose to continue on and fight to make the world a better place for someone else. No matter how dark the night has been, the light of the new day always comes. Light always conquers darkness.
We can take the hurt and let it shape us into a stronger warrior, with the courage to walk alongside other wounded warriors into a better tomorrow.
Gratitude is the key to overcoming. Let us choose this day to give thanks, no matter what.