This has been the theme of the year for me.
~Steadfastness in persevering and seeking to honor the Lord in my days, despite a body of pain.
~Steadfastness in circumstances that carry a level of stress that has taken a toll on my body, mind, and emotions in countless ways.
~Steadfastness in parenting through the ups and downs of daily life, e-learning, navigating complex special needs, and trying to give, love, and serve the children God has given us – even when I feel like I have nothing left to give.
~Steadfastness in starting over in a new state, job, community, church, school, and doctors.
~And as we can all relate to – steadfastness in this complex, divisive, mentally straining state of living through a pandemic where everyone falls on diffident sides of the spectrum.
But as we come to Thanksgiving in an environment that is difficult for everyone in one way or another, I keep being led to the words of James –
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and compete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
So this Thanksgiving, I’ve been challenged to focus on the ways that God has used the unique challenges of this year to grow, change, redirect, or draw us closer to him. If nothing else, the challenges, disappointments, and losses that have come from living through 2020 have provided circumstances to shake us from our stupor and lukewarm living to ask hard questions, remove distractions, and open our eyes to what we are truly living for.
This Thanksgiving, I’d encourage you to join us in spending time as a family (or with a friend or family member) discussing how God has been faithful through this year. How has he provided in the ways we needed most? How has he removed good things in order to show us something greater and more lasting? How has he taught us to appreciate the little things? How has he opened our eyes to sin in our life that was hidden under comfortable circumstances for the purpose of sanctification, growth, and healing? How has he grown us in steadfastness?
This year has been incredibly hard on SO MANY LEVELS. But sometimes “hard” is the path to greater blessing in ways that are lasting and eternal. Let’s remember that through Christ, we truly can “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
God has always been good and faithful, but sometimes it takes losing our sense of control and comfort to truly grasp the depth the goodness, faithfulness, security, comfort, and hope that can come from nowhere else but him.