This year's Thanksgiving meditations and prayers seem more intense than in other years. In the past, we've easily made lists of gratitude and mouthed predictable prayers before indulging in our Thanksgiving festivities.
Last year, we, as a nation, slowly were starting to recover from the shock of attacks on our country and fellow citizens. Yet who would have predicted the onslaught of unsettling events that have happened all around the world since then?
Blessings we had taken almost for granted look different now. We are not so complacent as formerly, having become more closely acquainted with domestic terror, foreign terrorists, natural disasters, violence, anger, and destruction..
Are we learning to be more grateful for the things that haven't happened to us, while wondering what is coming next?
It would be easy to become fear-bound, pessimistic, or fatalistic. I look at ugly things we tolerate, and wonder how God can stand all the things He sees from His vantage point.
Then I remember the encouraging words of Jesus concerning what must happen before He returns to earth.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have
told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you
to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14:1-4 NIV
On one hand, we mourn over sin. On the other hand, we are not to become fear-bound and lose heart.
We who have taken the redemption offered by the Lord Jesus Christ are preserved eternally. We look forward to His return with joy. He has told us He will not leave abandoned and afraid.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while,
and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live,
ye shall live also. John 14:18, 19 KJV
Jesus forewarned his followers of the terrible things which would happen on earth before His return:
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things
which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power
and great glory.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:26, 28 KJV
How wonderful it is to know that troubles here are only for a predetermined time, and then great joy and blessing will come for Christians when Jesus returns.
So, this year my usual list for which I thank God includes family, friends, fellowship, and provision. But more intensely than ever, I am thankful for God's Word and His promise made clear to us that we are loved, and that the completion of our redemption is a planned and sure event, giving us assured hope and joy.
© 2002 Nancy Spiegelberg
Read all of Nancy's previous articles: