After all, this season of Thanksgiving is when we’re all encouraged to focus on the things we have to be grateful or thankful for. But what about people who are suffering or have suffered great loss or heartache during this past year. I imagine it could be very difficult to find things to be grateful for when one is in the throws of a great trial.
It’s easy to be thankful when life is smooth, but what about when things aren’t so good?
I can’t speak for every situation, but I can speak for one that I’m close to. I’ve got a good friend with a heart of gold who just recently lost his 12 year old son to a horrific car accident. How does one going through the amount of hurt and loss that he’s feeling find things to be grateful for? I think it really depends on the individual.
One of the first things my friend said through great tears is, “This doesn’t affect my belief in God, but I’m mad as hell at Him”. I imagine that is how Horatio Spafford, who wrote the song, “It is Well With My Soul” felt. And that’s okay. Our God is a big God and He feels our hurt, and understands us better than we do ourselves. He’s got big shoulders, and loves us through it all. And I don’t doubt at all that God was very sad for the loss of that boy, and the others in the car with him. As hurting as my friend was and still is, one thing he kept saying is, “I’m thankful for my family and friends; and 12 years of having his little boy in my life”.
I’ve met people who having gone through a big trial have turned their back on God. They wanted nothing to do with a God who would allow terrible tragedy or trials to happen to them. “Well, if that’s God’s will, I want nothing to do with it”. What these poor people don’t understand is that it’s not God’s will that a car full of youths are killed in a terrible accident. It’s not God’s will that you go through a messy divorce, lose a limb, or that one is cut short in the prime of their life.
As Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived said in Eccl. 9:11 I returned and saw under the sun that The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.
That’s a very important concept that we need to consider in life, time and chance can happen to us all. It doesn’t make trials and tragedies any easier to accept, but blaming God is not the answer. It’s times like this we need to embrace God with everything we have just to get through such times.
My friend will never get over the loss of his young son, and who could? But in time, he will find it a little easier to deal with. And in time I’m sure he will find more and more things to be thankful for. I’m sure of this because he’s a great guy which is apparent from all the friends and family that love to be around him so much.
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