I have been sick, on-the-floor-sick, for 2 days. And at first glimpse of a settled stomach, I begin to crave Chick-fil-a, of course. So on this rainy, cold day, my snotty-nose boy and I set off to obtain what our taste buds desire and stomachs can hopefully handle.
We wait in the drive-thru line wrapped around the building. I observe from my minivan the strangers in the restaurant at what seems like an aquarium of sorts showcasing their lives unaware on display.
- a frazzled grandmother attempting to wrangle her wild granddaughter climbing on the bar designed to contain the children.
- a darling older couple quietly taking tiny bites of their chicken sandwiches elbow-to-elbow while sitting on the same side of the booth.
- two young, long-haired beauties giggly over boys or clothes or silliness.
- a tired, sad-looking mother with iPhone in hand desperately seizing the moment of quiet and solitude while her two little ones played on the playground.
I wonder what each of their Thanksgivings will hold. What do they have to be thankful for?
For many of us, this gratitude-filled holiday season can be a bit empty. For you as for me, this year may have been marked with anything but reasons to be thankful.
- Like my friend who suddenly lost her father with no warning, no notice, no good-bye.
- Or my other dear friend who just lost her mother from a slow death to cancer.
- Or those who have lost their husbands or wives and now share a bed alone.
- Or parents who were forced to say good-bye to their children due to cancer or car accidents or other tragedies.
- Or to those who are still fighting for life, like my dad currently in the fight with leukemia.
Giving thanks for this? Giving thanks when grief in your heart is so heavy that it drags after you while you trudge through your day.
I raise my voice in doubt, hurting for you as much as for me,
“BUT GOD, really?
BUT GOD, why?
BUT GOD, how could this happen?
[Pause. Smile. Breathe.]
There is hope. When But God is settled on the immeasurable, unquantifiable love of God, there is a shift that happens. A shift has been made in my heart…a recalibration that settles my heart not in doubt or anger or tears. But in joy. And thanks. And gratitude. And peace.
- When you don’t feel like you have anything to be thankful for, BUT GOD. He goes to where you are with love extended, grabs your hand and points to the cross. Romans 5:8
- When you are exhausted, harassed, confronting conflicts on the outside and fear within, BUT GOD. He comforts the downcast and dispenses joys greater than ever before. 2 Corinthians 7:5-7
- When your heart is like mush and you can’t stand it any longer, BUT GOD. The truth of His love is strength and gives what you need for this day… and the next and the next and the next. Psalm 73:26
- When things beyond your control reshape your existence, BUT GOD. He is with you and will rescue you from your troubles. He will give you wisdom and enable you to stand strong and steady. Acts 7:9-10
- When you feel forgotten and crumple into pieces, BUT GOD. He is the builder of everything right and good and satisfying. Hebrews 3:4