I hope you will be able, in a few weeks, to enjoy a happy Thanksgiving, passing the turkey and mashed potatoes around a table filled with loved ones and rejoicing together in the good things of life with hearts full of gratitude and praise. I hope that for each of us, but I think we all know that some Thanksgiving tables will be less crowded and many loved ones more lonely this year. 2020 has dealt us some cruel blows, and our Thanksgiving meals may reflect the somber mood of this hard season.
I should note, as I write these words in late October for you to read in early November, that we don’t know what will come in the next few weeks. By late November, the world could be filled with new hope and optimism. Perhaps there will be a vaccine for the virus. Perhaps the election will be settled to the satisfaction of most. Perhaps restaurants will be open and schools safe and jobs abundant. Perhaps the Bears and the Pack-ers (and the Chiefs) will all be tied for first place!
We don’t know what the future holds nor how God will provide for the people He loves, but we have learned from the hardship of the past year that, even in the midst of trials and through anxious moments, we can find reasons to give thanks. God hasn’t changed. He is still good, loving, merciful, powerful and holy. Je-sus is still our Savior. The gates of hell still have not prevailed over the Body of Christ, and we still have the unbreakable promise of everlasting life in Jesus’ name.
So, as we prepare our hearts and homes to celebrate Thanksgiving in this trying time, we could use some words of comfort and encouragement. You will find the steadfast support of God’s word in passages like Psalm 23, Psalm 61, Isaiah 35, Matthew 11:28-30, John 16:33, Philippians 4:4-7 and Revelation 21:1-4. Let me encourage you to read these passages in the coming days and allow God’s peace to flow through your heart.
We also find comfort in the words of fellow believers, those who have also seen life’s troubles and re-mained strong in faith. Let these familiar lines bring you hope:
Though Satan should buffet,
Though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed His own blood for my soul.
“It Is Well with My Soul,” Horatio G. Spafford
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
“Thanks to God for My Redeemer,” August Ludvig Storm (translated by Carl E. Backstrom)