Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hard Things

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  2 Corinthians 1:4-5

Every year we go to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving.  A few years back my mother in law bought a cloth table cloth that you can write on with special pens and it doesn’t wash out.  She has us (all 20 of us) write what we are thankful for on it every year.  I did it the first year and found it to be extremely irritating to write on the fabric and make it look presentable.  It was hard and very frustrating.  The next year, I was not feeling thankful so I simply did not fight the battle.  Last year we were not able to make the trip for Thanksgiving and stayed home so I didn’t have to do it then either.  So, naturally this time of year I begin to think about what I am thankful for – enough to fight the battle with the tablecloth to write my answer for everyone to read for years to come.  This year it will be easy because I am going to write only two words – Hard Things.

Hard Things
Yes, I am always, always thankful for my kids and family.  I cherish the time I have with my children more every day because they are growing – up and away – just like they are supposed to be doing.  I am working harder than ever to help them see the treasures they are and the wonderful gifts God has given each one of them individually.  But I try to think of the things I am thankful for that are not always at the top of my happiness list.  This year I am finding that I am able to see the value in the hard things in my life.  They are not the things l like the most.  They might be the things I pray for God to take away or to fix.  He does not always give us what we ask for.  It would be easy to take away the hard things, and He could because He is God after all!  But I am realizing that these hard things are the things that are shaping me, growing me and making me into the person God planned for me to be.  He may use these hard places in my life to help other people in similar hard places.  One thing I know – He will use them for good. 

The Purpose
Sometimes in life we have to endure hard things and we don’t understand why. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense – to us.  To our human eyes it seems so unfair that we are experiencing something hard. We wonder why God does not do something.  We plead, we promise, we cry out with the weight of the burden we are bearing and still it seems He is silent.  We can begin to be thankful when we can resolve ourselves to the fact that God is in control and He is keeping us where we are for a reason.  He may not change your situation but you can be sure that He is changing you.  Even if you are not the one, it seems, who needs the change, He is tweaking something.  This year I have learned, and I am still learning, to be thankful for the hard things.  I have learned that I cannot ignore them or run away and asking God to take them away or make them different may not change anything – but me.  And I’m ok with that because no matter how it turns out in the end, the only thing I truly want is to be right where God wants me to be. 

Looking back and seeing how some of the hard things in my life unfolded into God’s greatest transformations make it easy for me to be thankful for those hard times.  It is much harder to be thankful in the middle of a storm. The Bible verse below reminds me however that I am expected to be thankful in ALL circumstances.   That is when I have to remind myself that God is in control and there is a reason for this hard time. This is where trust and faith come in, and then true thanksgiving.    

Scripture to Claim: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

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