We are just a few days away from Thanksgiving. WOO HOO. Get your elastic-waisted jeans out, and your most gigantic sweater because it is going down. It might feel a little weird having Thanksgiving during a season of strange circumstances. Giving thanks in the difficult, and, despite the difficulties. But we are made of sturdy stuff. Our DNA can celebrate life in the middle of pain. We were made to sing in the midst of a war. We were created to dance in the heat of the fire, and we are designed to shout before the walls fall. Oh yes, we have the cellular structure of heaven.
Our Father knows it’s hard to give thanks when life feels overwhelming because He knows the weight of hurt and heartache. He knows the pressure of opinions that differ. He knows the pain of loss. He knows the ache of betrayal. And He knows the hurt of missing someone at the table. And He knows the difficult moments are the perfect backdrop for the miraculous and the impossible. I know we have heard this message a thousand times; that without sorrow, we wouldn’t know joy. Without heartache, we wouldn’t know comfort. But do we know that without seasons of emptiness, we wouldn’t know the celebrations of gratefulness? Gratefulness isn’t always about what we have. Many times, it’s about what we need and/or what is coming. It knows spring is around the corner. The ice is melting. The long dark days will soon turn to hours of sunlight. It’s about knowing what is promised and who promised it. It’s the understanding that pain has an end. Grief has a season. Betrayals have a shelf life. And His promises have a deadline. And nothing in hell can stop them from coming.
We can be grateful that God's plan WILL be done regardless of the discomfort we are feeling, the hurt we are walking through, the grief we are experiencing, or the obstacles we face. He has a time stamp on His plans. He has set into motion His perfect way and will. We can be thankful that in the process of a mountain being moved, we have a God who is with us in trenches, feeling our brokenness, comforting us in our heartache, and imparting joy in our despair. He is also on the other side of our battle, ready to rejoice with us. He sees the victory we have yet to view. He sees the casualties the enemy will endure. And He sees the perseverance and strength our faith gains because of a battle. We don’t grow when it's easy, sis. A steadfast spirit is developed in trials. If you’re asking for perseverance, be ready to run long marathons. (you might need to read that again)
Today I thought of Jesus in the garden praying. The loneliness and the weight of what He was carrying were displayed through a physical reaction, sweating drops of blood. I’ve never experienced the weight of the entire world. I’ve never known each person’s sin. I've never had inside information of a betrayal that would kill me by a kiss; Jesus knew what was on the other side of His pain; us! We were the joy set before HIM. He endured the pain of the cross because on the other side of that intimidating mountain was a relationship with us, reconciliation for the prodigals, healing because of His pain, and wholeness because of crushing.
“We look away from the natural realm, and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures.”
Hebrews 12:2-3 TPT
Can you see the joy on the other side of your pain? Can you smell spring in the air? Winter is not forever, sweet sisters. We will bloom again. We will flourish, and we will thrive. The Joy on the other side of our trial is immeasurable. The blessings that are promised are unstoppable. So, fix your eyes on the joys set before. Write them down. Declare them aloud. But be confident of this, joy is not measured by good times or perfect moments. Joy is much deeper than that. And the same goes for thankfulness. We don’t find gratitude in the fullness of our life; we find it in our need. Thanksgiving was all about empty tables missing family members, lonely pioneers navigating unexpected trials, and strangers who saw others in need and were compelled to help.