In Everything Give Thanks

It’s a crisp, frosty Thanksgiving Day here along the ridges of the great Allegheny Mountains. I for one have secured a cozy spot next to the fire where I can relax, sip from a mug of hot chocolate, and prepare to engage in holiday traditions passed on to me from generations past. The consumption of food, the celebration of parades,  the time spent with family and friends, and yes, even the watching of football have all woven a fabric into the festivities a national holiday. But to be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready for this day to begin.

I’ve had a difficult week wrestling with the entire concept of thankfulness. You see, it is not my desire merely or whimsically to “be thankful;”  I want desperately to “BE THANKFUL!” I want to know more than the definition, I want to know the experience. I want a heart overflowing with sincere and blatant gratitude.  I want to know what it means to recklessly abandon any sense of self reliance so I may savor the results of placing my faith and trust in the One who knows my tomorrows.

This morning I am reminded that perhaps the answer to my dilemma is right in front of me. As I search the scripture, it turns out the Apostle Paul’s First Thessalonians 5:18 message to the church is a memo addressed to my personal attention: “Dear Scott, In EVERYTHING give thanks. Not just for the all the goodness you will celebrate today or even in your lifetime, but for the times of crisis, trial, challenge, and adversity.”

As I process the words of the Apostle Paul,  I think of the subtle hints God has given me over the past several days: When I stood in front of a crowd and sang the words “…I hope you win, I hope you lose, I pray you’ll realize that both are good for you…” When I ran into a friend who shared similar problems and situations from which we simply conclude “lesson learned.” When I wrote about legacies and remember my grandparents and the generations of men and women who marched on in spite of the difficult circumstances of two global conflicts and a great depression. In EVERYTHING give thanks.

On this Thanksgiving morning, I am thankful for adversity, uncertainty, challenge, and trial. Without them, I would not understand who I am, who I am not, and who He is. I would not have a deeper understanding and perspective of the journey. I would not be able to appreciate, cherish, respect, or admire had I not tasted from the bitter. I would not really know what it meant to experience a thankful heart. Today, I am thankful for EVERYTHING!

©Copyright 2012 Scott Rhoades/Ivory Hill Studios

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