Sometimes we spend so much time in our own little world, that we lose track of how others live their lives. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it is natural for us to be focused on our immediate surroundings day after day. The busyness of our jobs, the intricacies of our closest relationships, the demands of our time all combine to narrow our focus and shrink our view. Or maybe that’s just true of me.
Last week my son Travis and I expanded our view a little. We traveled west to Nebraska to meet some new friends that we had never met before. And we drove through a lot of places we had never seen before, some big cities, and some very, very small towns. It was an uncertain adventure of sorts. While I had talked with our host several times on the phone, we had never met. But our conversations had an easy flow to them, and I was confident that we would get along well. I wasn’t disappointed. We were welcomed like old friends, and over the course of our week of hunting with this man and his colleagues, we forged a friendship that I hope lasts a long time. It was a blessing!
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. And while we all have reasons for thanks, sometimes we have to fight off the reasons not to be thankful. We can all list off the easy, common things that we are thankful for: homes and friends and family and health, but it is harder when one of those “big ones” is missing or afflicted. A serious illness. The loss of a dear one. Situations like that can easily sap all of the thanks from our lives, if we let them. But thanks is not a light that you turn on or off, depending on what is happening in your life. Thanks should be a warm glow, that may ebb and flow with the tide of events in our lives, but never goes completely out. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to count our blessings, though at times they may seem few. But the result of that process can be a blessing in itself: the realization that God IS still there, and He DOES still care. That is a hard thing to affirm in the middle of what seems to be a hopeless situation. But if you can truly give those fears and doubts and “thankless” moments to Him, He will give you peace. I promise.
So find some things to be thankful for this week. It may come easily, or it may be hard to do, depending on your situation. But the words of that old hymn are true:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”
Have a fruitful (and thankful) week!