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Holiday MealGolden-brown turkey and cranberry sauce, creamy mashed potatoes and raisin stuffing.  The fragrance of freshly baked rolls and pies wafting through the air. Family … friends … fellowship. Thanksgiving is a glorious reminder to stop and count the many blessings we enjoy.

But one day is not enough! The Apostle Paul tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) (and he wrote that from a prison cell.)prison-and-cross

He doesn’t tell us to give thanks FOR all things. I didn’t thank God when my friend had incurable cancer. But I did thank Him for being  with my friends and guiding them on that unexpected  journey.

A colleague told me she was angry that terminal illness had entered our lives because my late husband and I  were “good people.” I responded that God has not promised His children would be exempt from trouble and pain; but He has promised never  to leave or forsake us. And when I cried out for help during that season, He filled me with hope, joy, and peace that were clearly not from my own inner strength. By His grace I was renewed day by day. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

How do I respond to others who are undergoing severe trials? With illness, war, family dysfunction. My friend Constance Plett expressed it well:

“I am grateful, when I feel helpless listening to the news, that God knows places like Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria and every single individual and family affected by the Ebola virus. That their suffering and passing is not lost on Him because He created every single one down to the last cell.”

I am grateful that the PROMISE MAKER is the PROMISE KEEPER.
* I will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Deuteronomy 31:16)
* I know what I have planned for you—to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
* I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. (Psalm 32:8)
* I will guard your going out and your coming in. (Psalm 121:8)
*I go and prepare a place for you… (and) … will come back and take you to be with me. (John 14:3)

A thankful attitude runs the gamut from stretch fabrics to a good medical report, to strength in difficulty, to healing, to the hope of heaven and cessation of pain and suffering for those who walk with Christ.

In any circumstance, I can choose to be thankful, knowing my God knows the Way (MY way too). Becoming a “thanks-giver” is a process; I’m not always thankful. But I’m working on it, with His help.

What is God teaching you about having a thankful heart?





  1. Karen O'Connor says:

    Thank you, Carol, for another inspiring post. I’m encouraged to continue to be grateful regardless of the situation, and when I do give thanks even the difficulties are less difficult!

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you Karen. I see a thankful spirit in you; and agree that giving thanks makes our difficulties less so. Bless you!

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