It is easy to praise God, to thank him, when our lives are easy and we are overflowing with those things that we consider blessings: food, friends, family, a cozy home and a comfortable life. But how do we give thanks when it is agonizingly difficult to give thanks, to drop to our knees and, like Job, cry out “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” In the midst of the devastating darkness that threatens to engulf us all at some time in our lives, that tiny pinprick of light suddenly shines through, pushing back the blackness.
And we are reminded why we can give thanks, even when we don’t feel it, even when it’s hard, because we know deep in our hearts what is true: that God is good, all the time; that he is faithful; that he is in control; that he sees; that he is near; that he cares – cares about us, and cares for us. And we cling to – and rest in – the promise from Lamentations: Hope returns when we remember this one thing: the Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all we have, and so we put our hope in him.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving:
To the God who never fails,
Thank you that you have promised to be with us, even to the end of the age. We praise you for your assurance that you will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us and to shine from heaven on all of us who live in the dark shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace.
When we are unfaithful, thank you that your love is great, and higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. When we lose someone we love, or grieve for the loss of our dreams and plans, thank you that you are the God who comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others. When we are sick or in pain and cannot keep going in our own strength, thank you that you are our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. And we thank you that, whatever we go through, we do not need to be afraid, for even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the ocean depths, we will not be consumed, because your compassions never fail.
Father, when our strength is gone and we cannot take one more step, draw in one more breath on our own, help us to pray:
Breathe on us, Breath of God. Mend our bruises, heal our hearts so that we do not flag nor fail until our work is done. Breathe on our souls and fan the flames of faith that flicker low. Use us to do your work of healing, until it is needed no more. Thank you that it is these difficult days that make such service to you possible.*
And above all we thank you for your greatest gift, your son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen
Press on, my friends. Press on. And have a very happy Thanksgiving!
* From The Deep Place Where Nobody Goes by Jill Briscoe