• Kelsey Scism

And Yet They Gave Thanks

A few facts about the people who celebrated that first Thanksgiving:


*The 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower were at sea for more than two months, spending most of their time in a cabin area with a ceiling height of less than six feet, making it difficult to even stand up.

*During the journey, they traveled in such rough waters that a main beam in the ship cracked and required repair.

*Upon their arrival in November, they had no friends to greet them and no inns or homes to stay in, only bitterly cold temperatures.

*During the first winter, they lived on the ship and suffered from numerous illnesses.

*By March, almost half of the passengers and crew had died.


Hardship, illness, devastation, hunger, pain, and death—all part of the Pilgrim’s story.


And, yet, they gave thanks.


The journey was hard.


And, yet, they gave thanks.


Their arrival was not what they had anticipated.


And, yet, they gave thanks.


They faced fear and doubt.

And, yet, they gave thanks.


They suffered.


And, yet, they gave thanks.


They faced adversity.


And, yet, they gave thanks.


Can the same be said for us? In the midst of hardship, unmet expectations, fear, doubt, suffering, and adversity do we give thanks? Sounds sort of impossible, doesn't it?


Paul tells the Thessalonians, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I want you to notice the last phrase there: for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.


When God asks us to do something—to be obedient to His will—we are not left to do it in our own strength.


We are told this in Hebrews (13), "Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (v. 20-21).


We are told that giving thanks in all circumstances is God's will AND we are told that God will equip us with everything we need to do His will.


So, that means that when we're faced with hardship, unmet expectations, fear, doubt, suffering, and adversity, we don't have to find be grateful in our own strength. We can reach out for the power of the God of peace who raised Jesus from the dead and rely on HIS strength to give thanks. We don't have to do it alone.


Father God,

I am so grateful for your power and grace and mercy, but I don't always feel grateful in the middle of difficult circumstances. Thank you for your patience and presence. Lord, I need your help to give thanks. I need your help to lift my eyes off the struggles I face and look to your face. I need your strength. I need your peace. Holy Spirit, fill my heart with the gratitude I so desperately want but cannot feel.

In Your will, through Your power, and for Your glory,

Amen.

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