I had an interesting encounter with a client who came through our church food pantry line recently. I was praying with those coming through and I asked this lady how I could pray for her.
She said, “You can pray for thankfulness.”
Needing clarification, I said, “OK. You mean to be more thankful or how can I pray for you with thankfulness?”
She said “To be thankful my daughter died, and my husband died, and that I’m all alone. I should be thankful for that right?! I mean you Jesus people don’t get it.”
I could hear the anger in her voice, but above that I could hear the hurt.
It is incredibly hard to be thankful for the hard. Why should we be thankful for the suffering and death of loved ones? Why should we be thankful for the suffering we endure? Illness, trauma, abuse, etc.
I mean, if anyone gets it, I do. The human part of me wanted to say, “Lady you’re talking to the wrong person about life not being fair.”
Thankfully, Jesus took over.
As I was pondering this with God this morning, I turned to psalm 92.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night,On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With harmonious sound. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:1-4
What does it mean that the Lord has made me glad through His work? The ultimate work is Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life, despite being rejected, beaten, talked about behind His back, plotted to be murdered, and eventually was murdered for doing absolutely nothing wrong.
Let that sink in a minute.
For every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth, Jesus made a way for each of us. When we accept what He has done for us, we can be thankful all the pain and suffering of this world will one day be completely gone. We will spend eternity in a perfect, sinless heaven with brand new bodies (halleluiah!!!). There will be no more pain, crying, loss, sickness, or abuse. No more suffering.
So, while we suffer here on earth, it is but for a little while in comparison to the never ending time we spend in perfection as a co-air with Jesus.
My response to the lady who came through the pantry was, “Can I share with you a little of what I’ve been through and how I find hope?”
She agreed and I said, “I endured an entire childhood of abuse, I have no blood related family connections around me, and I lost my chance to be married or have children. We are all (as I pointed to those serving with me) just hurt and broken people who have found hope despite our suffering. Because we trust in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross, this world is not our home and all this pain will one day be gone.”
And thankfulness brings me back to this reality when life gets hard. And life is excruciatingly hard. Maybe you feel like this woman did, or like I have at points in my life. Hold onto Jesus and hold onto to hope.
It is good to give thanks to You and sing Your praises. I declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night. I praise You for being You. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. Thank You for the help You provide.
In Jesus’ powerful name,
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